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.
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.
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.
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?