Friday, December 14, 2012

Celebrating Through Holiday Grief

This is year two since my little sister passed away and it seems to be harder than the first. By now, Toshia would have already called me and everyone else a million times to make sure that we all knew what to bring for Christmas dinner. She would have told me that I better not cook those nasty fried collard greens that I brought three Christmas' ago (they were horrible). She would have already proclaimed herself to be the winner of this year’s cooking contest (she thought that she was Paul Deen) AND with she would had said "Gul, you know I'm bringing my (with a scruff in her voice) "negro piiiiesss." She was famous for her Butterfinger and Oreo ice cream pies. Don't ask me why she called them that. The child was She was the heartbeat behind our laughter. As a family, we’ve have to readjust and learn how to enjoy Christmas without Toshia but with her memory.

Wednesday of this week was especially hard for me. I found myself getting angry. I didn't want to be around people. I just wanted my Toshia. I was tired of trying to keep busy so that I couldn't feel. I went the whole day without crying but that night I couldn’t hold back anymore. I thank God for my husband and children. My daughters cooked dinner. My husband rented a movie and before I knew it, we were all eating and laughing together. I look at my family and friends and God reminds me that I have a lot of living to do. I have memories to make, a ministry to fulfill and a calling to walk in.

It's not fair to our families when we stop, drop and quit. As a matter of fact, it's selfish on our part. I encourage those of you who mourn to keep moving through the hurt. Yes, you will have your good days and your not so good days but God has your back and so does your loved ones who are here with you.

There are so many things you can do to defeat the Holiday Blues. First, pray and trust in God's strength. Secondly, you could make or buy a Christmas ornament to hang in your loved one's memory. Last year, I gave my mom and dad a memory candle to light during special occasions. We launch balloons into the heavens on her and her children's birthday. We place a Christmas wreath on her grave and flowers on Mother's Day. You can make a donation in memory of your loved one to a church or organization. You could send a card of encouragement to another grieving family who might be struggling this holiday season. You could also bless them with a Christmas centerpiece to let them know that you are thinking of them or invite them to dinner. Get creative and let God be your guide. We are all to be helpers one to another in this walk of faith.
Just remember, you are not alone. Grief is a process that has no time limit. It's different for each person but I've learned it's all about reconditioning your mind. I don't think you ever get over losing someone; you learn how to live through it. As much as I would love to have my sister back here on earth, if I had the choice I wouldn't dare ask God for that. Latoshia is now living in total peace free from the pains and disappointments of this world. I know that she would want us to be happy, take care of her children and live life sold out to Christ knowing that we will see each other again. It’s okay to remember but let us not forget, we live for God and not for man even when our loved ones pass on, we must continue to live.

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