Facing Holidays for the First Time Without My Mom

For the first time in my life, I’m less than excited about the holidays. Honestly? I’m down-right dreading them. I didn’t even realize Thanksgiving was this Thursday until we got a note from our church last week that there would be no Wednesday night service this week due to the holiday. That’s when it hit. The holidays have arrived and I don’t want to face them

without my mom.

Family Christmas 2015

There seems to be an unending ripple effect in every thing that follows the loss of a loved one. The “firsts” are extremely difficult to get through and we have some pretty significant firsts coming all at once. Sandwiched between both Thanksgiving and Christmas, we will “celebrate” my mom’s birthday—without her. But, again, if I’m honest, there’s not much celebrating in our hearts at all. If it wasn’t for the kids, I’m not sure I would be interested in acknowledging the commercialized side of Christmas at all. In fact, I’m trying to come up with ways to make it far more meaningful than a bunch of gifts. But first

I have to get through Thanksgiving.

Appropriately enough, our pastor challenged us to come up with a list of things to be grateful for this week. He reminded us to be faithful in our gratitude and asked when was the last time we thanked God for something without asking Him for anything. Gut punch. Recently, I feel like I’ve asked so much from Him, and although I do thank Him, it’s never enough.

Family Thanksgiving

On Halloween night, I had some unexplained bleeding. It lasted for over a week and we decided I should (at the very least) be seen by an urgent care doctor. BIGGEST MISTAKE EVER. The doctor there was obviously not well-versed in “women’s wellness” and I walked out of the appointment feeling as though I had been handed a death sentence. Considering our church was in the same parking lot, we drove straight over to talk to a pastor, ask for prayer, and cry it out before heading home to tell our children. I then spent the next 48 hours trying to plan out what little life I had left and not eating or sleeping.

By the time I was able to see my Gynecologist of 15+ years, I felt like I was given back my life. He had two (non-life threatening) theories for the bleeding, told me he needed to see me more often than every 7 years (Ladies, get those yearly PAPs), and let me know I wasn’t dying as suggested by the (less-knowledgeable in this field) urgent care doctor. Colby and I left the next day for a much-need, long-planned trip to Mexico to take a good mental break.

During those 48 hours, I spent hours on end talking to God—and my mom—begging Him to heal me and asking my mom to put in a good word for me. I was desperate. I want to live long enough to spoil grandkids one day, to see my youngest 4 get married, and to nag Colby for another 25+ (x5) years. And the moment we found out the news we were given originally was wrong, I cried some more (tears of joy this time) and thanked God for His never-ending love for me.

hope for the holidays

I thanked Him for the support from my family and friends, the wisdom from my doctor, the ability to live another day, and for listening to my mom. I like to think she holds a front row seat to our lives now. At least that way, I can continue to feel her presence, hear her voice, and remember her laugh. It helps me cope.

This holiday season, I feel like I’m going to need all the help I can get. The nightmares began again this weekend in the short spurts of sleep I am able to get. By last night, I was once again sidelined by the physical side of grief. I’m crying at everything and breathing is challenging sometimes because of the weight of the loss. I feel as though the grief cycle has started over again and I am going to be in this loop at least until mid-January. But then, it’ll start again as we begin a new year without her.

everywhere she looked there was another reason to be thankful

I’m hoping the secret to moving forward is focusing on gratitude. The people still in my life. They are the ones that make my world go round, fill my air with lungs, and will me out of bed each morning. I’m thankful for my husband, my kids, my family and close-friends. God has placed people around me that love me, lift me up, and carry me through this journey called life. Right now, that’s enough.

365 Days of Gratitude
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