Broken Hearts and Christmas

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“Somewhere there’s someone who dreams of your smile, and finds in your presence that life is worth while. So when you are lonely, remember it’s true: Somebody, somewhere, is thinking of you.” – Unknown

Christmas is the season of hope and miracles. Festive lights and decorations are everywhere. There is absolutely no escaping it. No matter where you are, music is playing. Wishes for snow and gifts are plentiful. To-do lists and errands seem miles long. Hustle and bustle. And exhaustion – all in an effort to have everything “perfect.”

For weeks I have been asked: Are you ready for Christmas? Are you in the holiday spirit? Don’t you love this time of year?

No. No. And this year, no.

For the record, I am not a Grinch. Most years, I am as wound up as a five-year-old waiting for the big day. Though no longer a child, I do believe in Santa. On Christmas Eve, I search the sky, looking for the jolly ol’ elf. And I believe in Christmas magic and the hope of this season. The Babe in Bethlehem is my Salvation.

But I am not really into Christmas this year.

I have freely admitted this to many people, and save for a few, I am greeted with shock and horror. Some people look at me like I am crazy.

But I am normal. And I don’t need a therapist and I don’t need an anti-depressant.

I just need people to understand that, for me, this is a difficult holiday season. I am going to smile. And I am going to laugh. And I am going to cry. And those tears are healing. Those tears are okay.

Christmas will be different this year. That doesn’t make it bad – it doesn’t make it good. It makes it different. I never wanted it to be different.

I wanted it to be perfect.

At some point in our lives, how we celebrate Christmas changes. Children grow up, family members move, dads pass away. Maybe, for the first time in my life, I really have come to understand that there is no such thing as the perfect Christmas.

I overheard a conversation that resonated with me. Two women were discussing the emphasis on to-do lists, and shopping and baking, “all for one day.” The older woman hit the nail on the head – that the emphasis is on the wrong place.

“All you need to be ready for Christmas is to be surrounded by the ones you love.”

Yet, this year, there will be very dear ones missing from our celebrations – but because of my I love for them, they will be in attendance, for they are always close in my heart. Always.

Undoubtedly, Christmas will be different. Acknowledging that difference and that I won’t do all the same things this year relieves me of some of the pressures of “perfect.” I won’t have to pretend I am happy if I am having a sad moment. Different will make previous memories more precious, and new moments memorable.

Different will give me an ever greater appreciation of what I have been blessed with, which will go a long way towards healing my broken heart.

Different will also force me to look outside of myself and share with others – hard as that may be – even if all I can do is muster up a smile or be polite.

Maybe different will cause me to become different – but in a good and more thoughtful way. Maybe it will give me a greater compassion for the lonely, the hurting or for those experiencing loss.

Maybe, just maybe, different will one day feel perfect.

“It is the personal thoughtfulness, the warm human awareness, the reaching out of the self to one’s fellow man that makes giving worthy of the Christmas spirit.” – Isabel Currier

How are you helping yourself or a loved one this holiday season?

© 2012 – Lynne Cobb

16 Replies to “Broken Hearts and Christmas”

  1. Another heartfelt post, Lynne … you know I can relate. This holiday has been a lot easier for me, for the first time in ages. (I will be posting about that soon.) Mainly, I’ve found it helps if I put more effort into working for charity and rekindling the “reason for the season” in my heart. But the fact remains that grief and loss are always hovering in the corner somewhere, like the Ghost of Christmas Past. We do move on, but it’s not very easy when the loss is fresh, or, as you note, your loved ones aren’t around. I will be thinking of you this Christmas, and saying an “extra” prayer for you.

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  3. Lynne – another beautiful post. You hit the “nail on the head” when you mentioned that you are normal. You are normal. As Cindy mentioned, for those of us who have gone through the Christmas season after the loss of loved ones is difficult – but is part of the true grieving process. The first year of holidays and celebrations is the toughest. As time goes by, it gets easier, but you never forget. Prayers are headed your way for a very meaningful Christmas and to remember the real “reason for the season”.

  4. I stumbled across your blog and had to write and say that I love your post. It’s so true that we put so much emphasis on one day, when we should all act with kind and caring hearts each and every day of the year. I like the quotes you included as well. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you so very much! I appreciate you taking the time read and write a comment, too! The world would be kinder if we had Christmas in our hearts everyday, wouldn’t it? 🙂

  5. I really liked that post, Lynne. Different is better than perfect. I often tried to create the perfect Christmas but it gets everyone on edge. Better to keep your expectations in check. I liked what the woman said about Christmas being surrounded by the ones you love. We are fortunate that we have that in our lives. There are people who don’t.

    1. You are so correct, Pam. Even in the midst of the sense of loss, there are ones whom you hold dear – and they hold you up! We are blessed and fortunate!

  6. Another wonderful blog Lynne. You and I are walking down the same road and I find comfort in the words you write. Yes, you are normal and your not alone my friend. The perfect Christmas is always knowing that you are loved in heaven and here on earth.

  7. As this year flew by; I’ve been dreading the Holiday season. I got through Thanksgiving with many blessings. Now Christmas is right on the horizon . . . I thank you Lynn for being so candid. I was feeling alone with my thoughts. Now I know it’s okay to feel the way I do . . . Hugs!

    1. Well, Jill, I sure wish none of us had to be part of the grieving club. It does help to know we aren’t alone though, doesn’t it?

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  9. I’ve become jaded when it comes to Christmas, and a little scarred, and I say this with regret, because I want to change that. I want to feel the old joy, excitement and lovely anticipation of the big day. Right now I feel irritated with those who rush around, harried, uptight, exclaiming, “there is so much to do and not enough time!” What you said is true! You’re ready for Christmas once those you care about are present. I’m working on getting my head (out of my hands) and heart in a better place.

    1. “…and heart in a better place…” perfect, Susan. I believe a lot of us feel that, especially today. God’s peace and blessings to you.

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