The Challenge of Grief at Holiday Time ~ II

Being able to express your grief ~  The Challenge of Grief at Holiday Time ~ I   was based around being able to 'talk' or 'share' about departed loved ones to help a person process their grief, their loss, their impact.

Expression is vital ~ especially with young children. A few years back I saw this film clip of a young widow being interviewed. She had three small children. I think her husband had been killed in the war. At Christmas time, she asked her children if they'd would like to draw a message to Heaven for their daddy. She had a particular wall she would put the Christmas tree at, around that tree, placed on that wall would be her childrens' drawings ~ EXPRESSIONS for their daddy, Jesus Christ, Heaven.  They were in their third Christmas season of doing this. She said she was saving and preserving their messages, they were precious to her and if at some point when the children were adults, and wanted them, she would then give them to her children.  Messages to Heaven had become their holiday tradition. She said it would only be a tradition for however long the children wanted to continue to do this. Of course, I cried, tears pouring down my face. I thought this was the sweetest, bravest, most loving thing ever.

Musical Expression ~  As a little girl, I heard this song that stirred how much I missed my daddy. How I did manage to wear out that record (my brother's record using his record player).  How I managed to get away with learning that record in secret and very sneakily using my brother's stuff, I don't know. ( I had to watch my brother play his records to learn how to even use the record player to play the record.)

It was that urgent, that important to me and believe me Mama rarely left me by myself for any length of time.  I learned that song and those days when I wasn't compelled to go along with Mama on her 15 minute to half an hour errand walk, you could find me sitting on the back steps of our house. Often there would be the music of the wind in the trees and the back yard meadow grass swaying and I would be singing that song acappella with every fiber of my little girl being. It was like I could feel my daddy. I could let him know how much I loved and missed him.  Sometimes, I would have tears. After singing, I would feel better for a while. The thing is I had no other human being to share this with. I did not want to make Mama cry.

My daughter and musical expression ~  I will never forget the Spring concert, near to to Easter time after my husband died. My daughter had a solo. It was a contemporary pop song from a popular artist. The school auditorium and audience went into silence, you could hear a 'pin drop'.  When she finished, there was a full thirty seconds more of silence, followed by a two minute rousing standing ovation. I had tears streaming down my face and through my tears, everyone I could see had tears streaming down their faces. I knew she had sang this song for her Dad and so did the entire audience. Oh and what a beautiful tribute. It was 'other worldly' in beauty and performance. It was a 'beyond perfection'  few minutes. I'm sitting here right now with 'goosebumps' at the recollection of it.

Musical Expression ~ the song of another.  The musical expression of another ( a particular song) may speak to your grieving heart in utter 'truth, simplicity and beauty'.  I was blessed to find a precious song that immediately spoke to my heart. It is an original song from country artist Dave May (@DaveMay40 on twitter) that I really want to share with you right here, right now. It's titled "Dear Santa Claus".

Credit: davemay40 You Tube ~ Dave May Original Music used with permission

Raw grief and my NUMBER ONE grief tip of all times ~  We are beyond our fresh and raw grief. We've come through it. My number one grief tip of all times and especially around the Holidays when the newly bereaved may socially be around events, friends, families, acquaintances.....


"People may reach out to comfort and console you and may say some of the dumbest, stupidest, outrageous, outlandish, ridiculous things you have ever heard, even your very own family members, although NOT LIMITED to them.  You may feel your face flush, your heart pound with anger, hurt and/or pain at their words. I will ask you, do your very best to be slow to react. Most of them (see I have my doubts about a few) will have absolutely no idea they were being offensive in anyway. Oh yes, I realize YOU are the grieving one!  YOU also will eventually feel so much better being 'the bigger person' by being gracious and allowing them to believe they meant well.  FORGIVE, most of them are well intentioned."

Trust me on this one, I remember some of what was said to me in my extreme grief, taking note of it as  WHAT NOT TO SAY later on in my life when other folks had someone they loved die.

Holiday Traditions ~  Our family still has small, simple remembrances that are important to us during the holiday season. Particularly at our Christmas meal prayer, we include all those who have departed to the other side. We don't call them all out by individual name.  We also toast them with whatever beverages we have on our dinner table, be it milk, water, soda or wine.

I have a special (very inexpensive) plastic snowman ornament that I impulse bought with my husband most recently passed several years before he passed away. It has his name on it. I remember the day I grabbed it up very clearly. While we both laughed at our silliness, his beautiful blue twinkling eyes that told me how much it also tickled and delighted him. It represents one tiny moment of complete happiness between us. It brings great joy to me to have that snowman and put it on the tree for him every year. Usually around New Year's Eve in complete privacy I will have one Tom and Jerry and tell my husband most recently passed how much I loved him, still do and how very important he is to me.

Again, if you need to find that 'safe place' to work with your grief.  I found Grief Share a faith based interdenominational grief support and recovery group worked out best for me. Here is the most recent link I have located  Grief Share.

The Challenge of Grief At Holiday Time ~ I

The Little Prayer Book That Could and Did

 I am @grammakaye on twitter. You are most welcome to leave a comment.


  1. Some good advice, Kaye. I remember spending that first Christmas without my father; it wasn't the most joyous of occasions. The important thing is to remember the good times you spent with your cherished departed ones. :)


    1. Hi Barb! I am not 'fancy' at writing about grief. Each person has their own 'unique' grief. I am one to keep on with Holiday traditions, for what or any 'joy' maybe found therein.

      I also find nothing wrong if any person ever needs to say it right out loud, "I'm having a hard time, this Holiday blows without (their loved one.)"

      I think just being able to speak it helps take some of the pain away. Barb, thank you for visiting, reading and commenting. ~ Kaye


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