Everyone talks about how joyous Christmas is for many reasons. But in truth, there are some of us who must deal with painful memories or lonesome feelings that stem from trying events we previously experienced during the holidays. In the words of PeopleAsia‘s Eppy Gochangco, one must learn how to cope with the sadness and loss and eventually move on. Life, after all, is still worth living!
By EPPY GOCHANGCO
It’s the holiday season once again and the cool air should be a welcome experience. But Marcia is not enjoying it as much as she did before. She can’t help but refrain herself from enjoying it because she is not experiencing it with Henry. She feels betrayed that Henry left; she is angry because she feels Henry didn’t take good care of himself. She can never experience happiness with her husband again.
She loves her children so much. Nothing in this world can make her happier than her children. She wonders why she’d rather be dead. But who would attend to the children when that happens? She knows no one can love her children and take care of them more than her.
Yet she doesn’t care. Losing Henry was too painful. No one listened to her but Henry. He was the only person in this world who would patiently sit down and listen to every word she would say.
Now, no one will listen. No one will give her sound advice on everything. No one will calm her down when she gets upset.
She mused that maybe, she should have spent more time with him than working too hard at the office, having fun with friends or joining groups that had the same interests as her. Marcia blames herself for all those missed opportunities. If she only knew, she would have been more sensitive to what he was saying.
She regrets having argued with him; she should have just allowed him to voice his opinion. She regrets that she didn’t take his complaints more seriously. Maybe if she did, something could have been done before it became worse.
Grieving is one of the most painful experiences any one has to go through. Whether one loses a parent, a partner, a child, a friend or even a pet, the pain can still be unbearable for those who are left behind. These people will have to suffer the pain of loss.
Marcia is just one of the millions of people who have lost a loved one, and is hurting because of it. This hurt becomes worse during Christmas because the memories are usually associated with the time spent together during the holidays.
Marcia’s concern is enduring the pain of spending Christmas alone, in the absence of Henry. She is at a loss and is confused, but she knows that there are ways of living through this. Henry has been gone for six months. Marcia thinks there might be something wrong with her because she still cries when she thinks of Henry.
But there is nothing wrong with Marcia. Holidays are like “humps” or “bumps” on the road. When one thinks he has slowly “moved on” or “let go” of his dearly departed, one cannot help but associate the holidays with the deceased because these are the days when one spends time with loved ones. One needs to survive the holidays.
There are ways to go about this. Here are some suggestions from Cynthia Bozich-Keith, a clinical assistant professor featured in USA Today:
1. Be gentle with yourself. Cynthia says that those who grieve must take time out for one’s self. Pamper yourself a bit or slow down.
2. Avoid alcohol and eat a nutritious diet. Sleep and exercise.
3. Allow yourself to talk about your loss.
4. You’re not perfect. This Christmas, allow someone else to take charge. Let others do the cooking and decorating for the holidays. Do not think of yourself as a bad person if you do not want to do these things.
5. If you find yourself enjoying this Christmas, allow it. It is not necessary to feel guilty and think about your departed loved ones who can’t enjoy what you are enjoying at the moment.
6. It is okay to think about the wonderful memories of your loved ones; allow it.
7. Celebrate life.
In summary, the one who lives and is left behind needs to let go of guilt and forgive one’s self for being alive. One must realize that it is not their fault that their loved one has passed away.
If they had a choice, the dearly departed would have stayed and lived life to the fullest. The ones who are left behind must realize that it is all right to move on. During Christmas, Marcia will be thinking a lot about Henry. But it is okay for one to go through it instead of drowning it out with alcohol. It will be easier to accept the pain.
The pain comes from the memories. And as time goes by, the memories of spending time with Henry will fade away. It will be replaced by something else. New experiences during the future Christmases will replace Marcia’s memories of spending time with Henry.
However, the memory of Henry will never go away. Marcia will always have fond memories of him and this will give her happiness. Her future experiences with her children and her parents will make her feel that life, indeed, is worth living again.