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Dealing With the Death of a Loved One at Christmas Time.


I know this is not a popular topic to discuss, especially during the holiday season, but none the less, it is a reality that some of us loose loved ones at Christmas time. 


My parents had been a BIG part of our little families Christmas Eve celebration for a long time.  They would come and spend the entire day with us.  We would fix all sorts of goodies, my dad would tell his sleigh riding in a B-17 bomber story and my mom would organize a reading and play act of 'Twas The Night Before Christmas'. Singing Christmas carols, telling stories and of course reading and acting out the Nativity from The Gospel of Luke were all special traditions that made our Christmas Eve memorable.

The first Christmas after my parents passed away was very difficult.  No one knew what to do.  I tried half-heartedly to keep everything the same, but Christmas Eve was an emotional disaster.  I thought that maybe the next Christmas Eve would be better, but it wasn't.  All the magic had gone out of our Christmas Eve traditions.  It's been 10 years now and we are just beginning to get a feel of what to do on Christmas Eve.

Here are a few things I've learned that might be helpful to others:

· TIME: 
It's okay to mourn and grieve over the loss.  Losing important people is our lives cause an emotional roller-coaster. It is important to allow time for grieving.  It is equally important to allow time for healing.  Just be careful not to allow grief to take over the future.  

· KEEP THINGS SIMPLE:
If you don't feel up to your usual holiday commitments, let others know and take it easy. Allow time to exercise, relax, and eat right!

· THE FIRST IS THE HARDEST:
Take this time to remember and reflect on the life of your loved one. Share memories of their life and talk about the traditions and how they made you feel and why you liked them. Shedding tears is okay.  

Keep in your heart that with the passing of time will come healing. This doesn't mean forgetting, but moving on!  Some of my darkest and most sorrowful moments where missing my Dad and Mom at Christmas.  But I clung to the reality, that I would not always feel such a deep sense of loss.

· CHANGE:
With our family we discovered that trying to keep all the old, loved traditions was not working.  We kept a few of the old traditions, but began creating new traditions for this new time in our family’s lives.  

· SERVICE:  
Helping others is one of the best ways to heal and cope.  Turn your heart and actions to helping others.  Our family began by filling 2 apple sized boxes with Christmas for someone else.  We started collecting Christmas gifts, food, decorations, and adding money to boxes. Prior to Christmas we located 2 families that were in need and the boxes were secretly delivered. Healing took place and hearts were warmed.

· FAITH:
Knowing that because of the birth of the Christ Child, His life and Atonement, I could be healed, and that our family is forever, made all the difference.  My testimony of eternal salvation and eternal families has increased and I know that these same blessings are available to everyone.
 
If you are grieving, I pray your hearts will find peace and comfort during this special holiday season.

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With love and gratitude,


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