Dare to be untraditional, in a traditional world.


You are not crazy, bitter or angry.

This is the hardest time of the year for all of us who have lost a loved one either through death or divorce.

We want to press fast forward and skip the holiday season all together.

But unfortunately this is not possible.

So I decided to write you this letter and help you shake things up a little. When there is happiness all around us and deep sadness inside of us we break.

We break in half.

This is what I call the duality of loss.

And there is intense duality during the holidays.

The happier people look around us…the sadder we feel.

I must tell you how I was sick and tired of seeing happy dads carrying their kids on their shoulders going for pancakes.

If I saw one more dad having fun with their kids I was going to throw up.

Seriously.

And sorry for being so graphic but nobody talks about these things.

Nobody told me it was normal to feel all these angry and bitter emotions.

I was convinced I was a bad and jealous person as I was experiencing all this.

I wish someone had written this letter to me…but nobody did.

And I felt like a crazy, sad and bitter woman.

This letter is for you if you feel bitterness towards happiness.

And no there is nothing wrong with you.

You are a human being who has gone through an inhuman experience. GRIEF.

Before the resurrection of you, grief shakes everything inside of you.

Your DNA changes.

Your thoughts are messed up.

Your heart is broken in many places.

And then you are told to put a smile on your face because it’s the holiday season.

How has this worked for you so far?

I am guessing not so great.

So instead of that smile.

I will ask you to do some other things during the holidays if that’s ok with you.

So today I want to inspire you to take the controls back and have the holiday you want to have.

Not the one you are told you should have.

recovery

Holiday REENTRY

1. The Turkey cleanse

When you get up in the morning before you get in the shower or put the turkey in the oven… cleanse yourself.

Grab a piece of paper and start writing all the things you are feeling.

Pour them out.

Write them as fast as they come out.

Cleanse away everything.

If you need to say something out loud, say it.

If you need to kick the furniture, kick it.

If you need to cry, cry.

If you need to do a crazy dance, dance away.

My point is, get it out of your body so you don’t carry all this weight with you.

Grief is not just sadness but it is bitterness, judgment, lots of ‘what if’s’ ‘if onlys’, and ‘they should.’

Lets get those things said, written and expressed before you even start the day.

2. Plug in to someone compassionate at the dinner table

Know this….you are doing the best you can.

And this is enough.

Let everyone else know that today is a hard day for you and that you need to be how you need to be.

Anyone who disagrees with you...make sure he does not sit next to you at the dinner table.

The person who sits next to you should be someone who has gone through difficult times.

How can you assess this in advance?

‘Conduct interviews’ at the pre-dinner part of the day, when everyone is being social.

Plug in to the person who comes across as compassionate.

Those are the folks who have experienced loss.

Compassion comes from grief. We care for others more because we know how much this hurts.

3. Look for miracles not for grief

This one is going to be hard to do but once we do the other two steps and we have positioned ourselves next to compassion and cleansed from the burden we are carrying, there is a good chance a miracle is primed and ready for you.

But if you are not looking for it, it will happen and you will miss it.

And before you go into thinking that miracles are big loud events where people win the lottery or they meet their next husband at dinner, let me stop you right there.

Miracles are small moments of unexpected laughter and joy in the midst of sadness.

Examples of miracles include:

-Having fun with kids on the floor with a big pile of mess next to you.

-Going for a walk after dinner and snow falling on your hair.

-Watching the sunset with some deep and meaningful tears.

-Striking a conversation with a new friend.

-A stranger smiling at you at the traffic lights.

-Believing for the first time that there is hope, and life could possibly be on her way to you.

4. Discover and create a new tradition that is untraditional.

I know you might find it hard to imagine something untraditional but think outside the box.

While you are at dinner do something unexpected and change things up. Wear something that is not expected.

Find a bright colored pair of shoes.

Spray part of your hair a different color.

Your identity is not plastic. You can change everything about it, especially during the holidays.

5. Step back and see the NEW YOU.

At the end of the day…sit back and look for the new you.

You created someone new today.

You reinvented yourself during a day that would have been extremely difficult.

You shed some of the grief weight, you connected with a compassionate soul at dinner, you saw miracles happen right before your eyes.

You created a new look and a new tradition.

Life begins again. And yes there are still many tough days ahead but today I wanted to tackle the holidays.

And shake things up for you in a way that you can be in control.

And if you feel like it, send me (christina@secondfirsts.com) a pic of you with red hair or new shoes, a sunset, some snow and a new friend.

It would mean a lot to me.

And I am thankful for your courage to dare to be untraditional in a world full of tradition.

With thanks and a crazy soul,

Christina

PS. Live event on December 2nd with Hay House sign up here its free and it will rock your world.

And if you haven’t yet…grab my new bestselling book here. It will change everything you ever thought about life after loss. Especially the invisible losses.

Comments

  1. Thanks so much you are an inspiration; my loss pales in comparison to yours; my wife left me after 13yrs and 2 kids its so hard; i tried everything to keep her; but she was done; and now 4 months post im happier kinda; but the last two holidays were so hard; i have decided im gonna have fun over the holidays and really enjoy my kids and family!! you have given me some real good ideas on how to do that!!!; You are da bomb!!!

    • When your spouse chooses to leave you… that part of you with them is gone too. You must grieve this loss. You deserve to gift yourself because you are worthy of peace. I believe in Second Firsts. Buy your copy today … you will reap the benefit of processing through your loss… Because so many of us suffer from “loss” in our life it is my number one present to my friends this Christmas.

      • Lisa yes divorce is a huge huge loss. HUGE!! And the world has put so much shame on it that they do not give empathy and compassion towards the person who has gone through this terrible and devastating experience. Thank you for your love and support as always.

  2. 3rd year since my husbands death…I wish I could stay in bed under the covers but my family means more so I put a smile on my saddness and face the world; hoping some day I can once again embrace the world. Thanks for your inspirational words, you are a gift to those of us that suffer from loss. I will be as untraditional as possible this year in effort to embrace the season. Thanks.

    • Hi Lynne… I smiled through family dinners for 25 years (I was a young widow at the age 36 with one 4 year old). Not one time did I take time for myself and my daughter to just be ourselves, or do something different. I so wish Christina’s book was here when I needed it… and at the same time, I wish I had the foresight to write one 25 years ago for her and all the other hurting people out there. I don’t know why I couldn’t see my way through to do it… but I think it is the constant “distractions” of a “normal” life that keep you from finding yourself. Bless you, Lynne as you find your way on this journey… Christina is going to help us all do just that!

  3. I love your site and this post hit home because I just wrote a similar post on my site! I can’t understand why people think we can be happy around the holidays (especially with a recent loss) and am tired of putting on the act! Thanks for letting me know I’m not the only one who feels this way and that we are allowed our feelings. Love your book, by the way!

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Christina Rasmussen

Welcome to the Message in a Bottle page, here you will find wisdom, truth and tools for you to start over. Make sure you sign up at the top to be sure to receive it in your inbox every Friday.