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. (Click to Tweet!)

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

Comments

  1. Hi Christina,
    I only found your Facebook page/website this morning. As crazy as it sounds, I felt as if you were writing TO ME! I was crying while reading your blog especially, “Dare to be Untraditional in a Traditional World”. I could literally feel every word you typed all the way down into the deepest parts of my soul. It’s strange to describe but it was almost as if I were reading some of my own words straight out of my journals! I live with so much guilt since my best friend, my Mom passed away in April 1999. Tomorrow is her birthday. Still 15 and a half years later, I still can’t get past the sadness, the depression, the total dark blackness that envelopes me on an almost daily basis. Holiday seasons are the worst though. I’d muchtake a pill or shot that would knock me out completely from the week before Halloween &

  2. Hello again!
    My apologies but since I only have a phone for internet, sometimes it sends before I’m finished!
    I basically was saying I’d rather sleep or be in an induced coma from Oct through the New Year. That sounds terrible I know, but it’s how I’ve felt since my Mom died in ’99. Since then I’ve lost my Dad, the rest of my grandparents and people that I have been very close to.
    I truly will keep up with reading your blog. Perhaps it will even give me a new way to look at things and at least I know I’m not alone by feeling this way. Thank you for all your hard work!

    Thank you for the time & effort put intoer view on things and atitknowing that I’m n

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Christina Rasmussen

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