It’s A Wonderful Life

I start writing this particular blog post with self doubt and perhaps some shame. I often find it a challenge to write openly about my own challenges and struggles, even though this is what makes me human.

I was blessed to have a wonderful Christmas season, surrounded by people who love and care for me, but in there was a misty moment. This was my first Christmas as an orphan, and no matter how I tried to pack my schedule to keep busy, my thoughts would turn to this.

The moment that really got me was watching a movie that was a long standing Christmas tradition in my biological family of origin – ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’. Perhaps I should have known better than watching this movie, but in retrospect, I feel there was a part of me that longed for connection to moments long gone by.

“Teacher says every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings”

Contrary to the message of the movie, I was not feeling up to the task of being surrounded by people (regardless of how lovely they are), when I could barely hold back my own tears. So needless to stay I did not go to the Christmas dinner I had planned to. Grief seems to have a nasty habit of coming up when it is least convenient.

Ironically, ham was on the dinner menu for the Christmas meal I missed.

Moving through the days since Christmas has been a challenge where sometimes my emotions come from nowhere and overtake me, but I have decided to try to give myself the space to feel whatever is coming up.

I have been thinking that there must be something wrong with me and what I am feeling. That somehow I must be broken for having feelings of depression so many months later. Shouldn’t it be time for me to get over it by now? Am I just weak? Broken? And what is up with these tears that well up in my eyes and don’t want to come out?

In the last few days I have been taking some time to reflect on my experience and the different stages of grief and to do a little research to make sure I am not totally losing it. I was not surprised to learn that depression is a part of grief, and often it does occur many months later after such things as shock, guilt, pain and anger.

Sadly I could not get my cat Chairman Meow into all of these poses during our photo shoot.

It is also interesting that grief does not follow some predictable path. Among my experiences I have also been working through my grief and pain, planning for the future and have experienced moments of hope and acceptance. I am realizing that experiencing and feeling depression is a part of the healing process. The human ability to heal and my own journey reminds me that ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ and my greatest gift this holiday season was my own resilience. Even though I am no angel, I am still looking for my wings. It will be time to fly again soon. Maybe they are under the disco ball:

Was there someone that your thoughts turned to this holiday season that you lost? How did you deal with the experience?

8 Comments

  1. Holidays without the ones loved are difficult. We build places in our hearts to store those memories, and when the moments are gone we turn back to the heart to make sense of what was,

    I have practiced as a psychotherapist for 20 years. Please know, there is no abnormal way to grieve. It exists on your timeline, and the way the emotions move your heart to integrate the story.

    Sorry for your loss,

    Tom

  2. Grief, the gift that keeps on giving. I do know loss is one of the many things that unites the human family, and it is wonderful you were able to acknowledge your own resilience and reach out online about your doubts about being “normal.” As folks have already written, each person processes loss in different ways and all are “normal”. Part of the difficulty in allowing our grief to just happen I think is because many human cultures (at least the one I’m part of in North America) allow such little spaciousness for it. Three days off work for a funeral? Please know you have every right to process in your own way however it is for you. I just received a blog today on loss from a remarkably resilient person, Dr. Tanmeet Sethi. (https://tanmeetsethimd.com/blog/get-over-yourself-and-live-todayreal-truth). And your post and hers are good reminders for me to remain aware of our universal fragility and strength and try to stay in gratitude.

  3. 2019 was the culmination of feelings for me. I lost something or someone large impacting every year since 2014. I had to write about it too. Grief Zones and The Year Turnaround. I think what you’re feeling is normal. I think you are stronger than you feel and giving yourself grace is key. It took me a year to be comfortable with it all. And this year is destined to be self recovery. You ve got this!!!

  4. Thanks for sharing your universal, but absolutely unique, experience of grief and loss and holiday struggles. My beloved husband died on Valentine’s Day 2019. Although I got through other milestones quite well, this one’s hard. What I’m thinking, though — and I hope something like this becomes true for you — is that hereafter this holiday will become an appropriate time to remember him. Also, just as I find comfort and relief in writing, I hope your continuing creation of beautiful pottery will offer comfort to you. Peace & blessings from San Francisco

  5. Let me assure you that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you. We never really get over losing someone we love. I can be fine for weeks or months and one thing can make me fall apart. My grandmother passed away 2 years ago and while doing some cleaning I came across a card she sent me when I was having surgery about 6 years ago. When I saw her handwriting I lost it… and that’s ok. Make room to feel your emotions as they are not wrong in any way. What helps me is knowing that I will see her again in God’s Kingdom. The bible assures me of that hope and I eagerly look forward to it (John 5:28,29; Revelation 21:3,4). Until these promises are realized its important to allow yourself to feel, to cry, to mourn all over again from time to time.

  6. Honestly I can relate.
    Grief is the most fickle thing. Sometimes the smallest of things set you off.
    For me in 1.5 years into my grief and well I cant get out of my rut.
    It’s so “nice” to hear that I wasn’t weird, that people are experiencing what I experienced.
    I commend you on being able to Express yourself and by doing so I guess you’ve helped people.
    Sorry for your loss, all I can say is that we learn to live with it.
    Goodluck

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