When you’ve lost someone you love, the holidays can be a difficult time. This is the time you spend with people you love, and when one is missing, it feels empty. It’s just not the same without him or her. This will be my second Christmas without Jake. It’s not easier, but God has made me stronger.

So, I am providing you with a list of suggestions and affirmations as you celebrate the holidays. This is more for my benefit… I need to remember these things for tonight and tomorrow.

1. Always, always, always lean on God and trust in Him. He’ll carry you through even more than you can imagine. “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” –Philippians 4:13

2. PRAY!!!! Seriously… talk to God. He knows just what you need. (This really should be with #1, but I thought it was important enough to have it’s own number.) 

3. Not only should you lean on God, but also lean on others. Remember that you have family and friends who love you and who are hurting as well from this loss. You’re NOT alone. Lean on each other, cry with each other, laugh with each other, remember the good times with each other. Don’t act like this loss did not happen because it did. Rather, celebrate his or her life by creating new memories with family and friends.

4. It’s ok to break tradition. What?!?! Becki, how could you say that? Trust me… change is healing. I’m not talking about drastic, let’s throw everything out the door change. I’m talking about starting your own new traditions.

5. Take care of yourself. Remember that grief never takes time off… even for the holidays. The holidays will not be the same because you are not the same person anymore. If you just cannot participate in something,  speak up. If something makes you uncomfortable, speak up.

6. Finally, always remember this: you can get through these difficult days. Be happy in the now because that’s all we have.

I hope these are helpful suggestions for you, especially if this is your first Christmas without your loved one. I love you, and I’m praying for you and your holiday season. May it be joyful in the midst of your grief. Don’t forget to smile–it’s contagious and can change your attitude and perspective.

God bless and Merry Christmas,
Becki

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