Gnawing away at grief

Decorating for fall in our front yard, we placed a hay bale, a little scarecrow and a nice, large, orange pumpkin. We thought it was the perfect display. It was easy to put up and easy to maintain. However, as the weeks have gone by, we have watched our poor pumpkin transformed by the deeds of a rather large rabbit population living in our neighborhood. Little by little, we’ve watched our pumpkin shrink and change due to the gnawing away that those little critters have done.

You may find that you feel life gnawing away at you too, as you do your best to journey through your grief. The loss you have suffered has changed you. It is rare that anyone faces death and loss and not be changed. While you may feel you have little control over this transformation, you can have some say in what your life will look like as you move forward.

Stopping grief from entering your life may be out of your control, but allowing it to be gnawing away at you is something that you can stop. Unlike our beautiful, helpless pumpkin with those rabbits sneaking up and taking bites of food away with them, you can decide to embrace your grief and face it. Once grief arrives, determine to do the work it takes to face your loss and choose how it will shape you for the future.

Some people make the unfortunate decision to live as a victim for years. They choose to be stuck in their grief. Allowing themselves to grow into a bigger, better person isn’t on their radar. Instead, gnawing away in their mind and heart is bitterness and sadness, shrinking their world into a sad existence. They don’t realize they have a choice for something more – something better.

Instead of letting grief gnaw away at you, determine how you want to change and then take steps to move in that direction. You can have a say in what you do with your life as you travel through your grief journey. Do you want to feel better? Then begin each day with a purpose in mind. Even something as simple as, “I’m going to shower and go to the grocery store today” is helpful.

I began to journal years ago when my loss was fresh. Putting my thoughts and feelings down on paper was therapeutic. Eventually I used those writings to be the foundation for my book, Grief Letters. I determined that I wasn’t going to waste what I had been through. Instead, I decided that I would begin the gnawing away myself in a positive manner. I chose to allow God to shape my life instead of letting my loss do so.

Does that mean that every day is easy for me now? Of course not. There are still difficult days that I have to maneuver through. But they don’t last long and they don’t get to gnaw away so much that I don’t recognize myself. I have discovered who I am and what I can do. I acknowledge that I haven’t reached this point alone. I have had people by my side, been blessed by the support of others walking through grief, and most importantly have relied upon my relationship with Jesus Christ to give me strength.

You can do this too. You can choose to stop the gnawing away that occurs in grief. You can be intentional about what changes your life, what it looks like and what direction your life will take. Don’t let grief distort you like that poor, pumpkin. Face your loss, be courageous, and work to shape the journey you are walking.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Finding Good Grief Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/Finding-Good-Grief-289425764887980/

Hungry and Hand-Fed

This little deer is one that I met this past weekend while visiting friends in Divide, Colorado. He was hungry enough and trusting enough to approach me and eat out of my outstretched hand. He fed until he was satisfied. He knew what would help his hunger and allowed me to meet that need.

Have you ever been hungry? There are different kinds of hunger. The one that first comes to mind might be the hunger that pinches the stomach and creates a headache. Missing a meal or two might even make you grumpy and tired. Fortunately for most of us, this kind of hunger is alleviated by simply eating food and gaining the nourishment the body is demanding it needs to stave off the pangs of being hungry. Filling the belly is all you need.

But what about the kind of hunger that tears at the soul? This hunger is experienced as a person faces feeling alone and missing a loved one. This form of being hungry isn’t as easily satisfied. Perhaps you have felt this kind of hunger. The one that keeps you awake at night due to the constant thoughts racing through your mind. The hunger that causes you to avoid going out alone because you would rather have your loved one with you. Your companion that you have relied upon for years to enjoy adventures with is gone and picturing today, tonight, tomorrow, or next week without them is nearly unbearable at times.

Experiencing this type of being hungry gnaws at you from the inside out. And it needs to be fed from the inside out as well. Merely eating a meal, going to a movie, or taking a walk will not fix this kind of hurt – this kind of hungry. So what can be done to “feed” yourself to the point where the pain and sorrow will stop or at least feel manageable?

You can allow yourself to be hungry and hand-fed. Admitting you are hungry is the first step to realizing what is wrong in your world. Knowing that you feel “off” and out-of-sorts because you are missing someone special will allow you to take a step toward healing. When you realize what is causing the pain, you can then move forward in your grief journey in order to feed that hunger.

How? Allow yourself to be hand-fed. What kind of food will satisfy the hunger you are experiencing. Perhaps sitting down and listening to calming music while you look through old picture books will serve as an appetizer. While there may be tears and some heartaches, you will be facing your hunger and allow yourself to be hand-fed with memories that will eventually heal.

Another kind of nourishment you might partake of is exercise. Joining a yoga class or committing to taking a walk each evening to get the blood flowing can be energizing and filling. You will feel stronger and realize that you are being hand-fed from the inside out. Your soul feels better and your days appear brighter as your outlook improves.

Reading through scripture can certainly help to feed a starving soul. There is something about God’s Word that will start on the inside, touch your heart and begin to fill in the empty, hungry places of your life. I remember when Alan first died, I would sit for quite a while with my Bible open on my lap, attempting to read because I knew that was a good thing to do. Those first few attempts were not exactly successful. I could not recall anything that I had read at those sittings. However, as I was persistent and continued to allow myself to be hand-fed with scripture, I began to feel my hunger dissipating and disappearing.

Do you have another idea for how you can admit that you are hungry and to allow yourself to be hand-fed? Just like the deer that I fed last weekend, you can trust that the nourishment will meet your needs and your hunger will subside with time. Eat, dear one. Be nourished and allow your hunger and your pain to be healed.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Finding Good Grief Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/Finding-Good-Grief-289425764887980/

 

New Things

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When you are walking a grief journey, there will be situations that come your way causing you to pause and contemplate, “Is this for real?” It seems that many days you must try new things and be brave as you branch out and expand your knowledge and skills now that you are walking through life without your loved one. Sometimes these moments of contemplation are spoken in confusion and other times you voice that statement in wonderment and are amazed at how blessed you can be, even while dealing with great sadness.

The journey I have been on for the past 16 months has been the latter case. After nearly 7 years of journeying through my life without my first husband, I now have been blessed with sharing my life with another amazing man. My wonderment enters the picture because this relationship was not anything I had been seeking or desiring. With that being said, I am absolutely thrilled that I have it and cannot picture my life moving forward without my second husband.

New things may enter your life when you least expect them. I am not speaking only of new relationships. Perhaps your new thing is finding the courage and excitement to take a vacation to a destination you have always wanted to see. Maybe you are ready to venture out and try a new, fun career that will brighten your days as it provides for those necessary financial obligations we all face. New hobbies can certainly add dimension and happiness to your life as well. What new things do you long for?

Meeting Gary and developing this new life has given us a passion for sharing what we have learned about grief and loss with others. Our Finding Good Grief Seminar is a new thing we have developed using creativity and dreaming of how we can continue to touch hurting lives by paying forward what we have received ourselves. We have been there – facing the loss of a loved one, both of us having lost our first spouses to death. However, we are seeing that life doesn’t need to stop there. And more than that, the things we have gleaned from our own journeys are now being combined into something beautiful and educational – the Finding Good Grief Seminar.

New things can be exciting. What is it you long for? Do you have dreams that you hold close to your heart? Begin to put on paper how you might truly be able to accomplish these adventures and then begin to move toward those goals. Share your dreams with a close friend, using them as a sounding board for your new ideas as you reach out and move forward in your own adventures.

If you or someone you know needs encouragement in order to see new things as a positive in their lives, share with them my book, Grief Letters, as well as our Finding Good Grief Seminar information. In future posts, you will be able to find our Finding Good Grief Facebook page and the website we are working on. In the meantime, know that you can comment to this post, and we can be in touch.

Until next time –

Karen (Bransgrove) Cadwallader

Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Finding Good Grief Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/Finding-Good-Grief-289425764887980/

 

I never used to

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Before I experienced death and grief in my family, I never used to dread coming home from work and the long, quiet hours that accompanied the evening. I recall phone calls on the drive home talking about possibilities for dinner and plans for spending the night together. At times that involved household chores. Other days held the promise of a special movie, concert, or just sweet conversation together.

I never used to struggle with figuring out what to eat and how to fill my body with the proteins and nutrients needed to stay healthy when I have no desire to cook. Having an appetite has become a thing of the past. Caring about eating the right foods at acceptable times of the day has become a puzzle that oftentimes seems to be missing a piece.

Lying awake for hours is a nightly ritual. Dreading the routine of bedtime even when the body is fatigued makes no sense, but is a common battle these days. Restful sleep is elusive, causing mornings to be filled with exhaustion and a lack of energy. I never used to toss and turn in bed. I have heard it said, “Just close your eyes.” However, that only opens the door for the memories of times gone by, accentuating the reality of what is missing today.

While there is plenty to be done in the home to fill up hours, finding the motivation to accomplish these tasks is difficult. Doing the work of two people in keeping a house in shape demands organization and work. I never used to lack the desire to get busy and finish the to-do-lists. But now when I see those lists, I feel overwhelmed and experience despair. How will I ever get it all done? Why even try? It really does not matter anyway, does it?

I never used to cry so much. Even though the tears fall less often than when grief first struck our family, the intensity of the sobs has not lessened when they do break through the stoic front I have learned to put forth for the public. The force with which the tears flow at times is still paralyzing. The only comfort is that these episodes occur less often as when the journey first began.

There is one ‘I never used to’ that must be added to this list. Perhaps it is the most important one of all. For without knowing grief and loss personally, I am not sure if a person can honestly know this quality. It is the attribute of I never used to have such a close, minute-by-minute walk with Jesus. While I have known my Savior personally since the age of nine, the relationship I have with Him has been shaped and sharpened by the tragedy and sadness that invaded my family five years ago.

I never used to spend so much time with Him in prayer and Bible study. I never used to be so totally dependent upon Him for my every need. I never used to see His absolute care and provision for my life. I never used to be so bold as to speak out to other hurting people, telling them how they too, can receive help and comfort in their own grief journeys.

As you face your own list of ‘I never used to’, may you discover a new closeness to the only One who can truly make a difference in what your life is now. There is hope. There is healing. There are possibilities that will astound you as your new life – your new normal – takes shape. Be encouraged when you realize how greatly your life has changed. While it is difficult and not what you might have chosen, it can still be a good, productive, and blessed life.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. Having hope and purpose is not impossible when facing loss and pain. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

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Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Calming Yourself

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Have you ever seen an upset child settle down as a parent speaks in hushed whispers and lightly strokes their back? What about watching a startled adult place a hand to their chest as they gasp and struggle to catch their breath, working to recover from whatever had frightened them? Calming yourself is a technique that you share with young children and learn to do yourself as you age. Do you recall how nice it was as a child to have someone embrace you and tell you that everything would be all right? I know that I have occasionally longed for that experience of comfort even as an adult since I have been journeying through grief. Trying to handle everything on your own can be taxing and exhausting. Calming yourself in the midst of loss and pain is a valuable skill.

I recall the first night of Alan’s death, just hours after leaving the hospital a final time. I lay in bed trying to sleep. Apparently I dozed off because suddenly I was in the midst of a nightmare as I sat straight up in bed and found myself crying aloud, tears flowing down my cheeks, rocking back and forth in an effort to calm down. A friend who was spending that first night with me heard my cries and immediately came in to rub my back, hug me, and allow me to rest my head on her shoulder. Calming yourself sometimes takes the aid of another.

When you find yourself in the midst of great stress and anxiety, what do you do? Sitting and crying for a while can be therapeutic. Perhaps reading a book pulls you to another world and relieves your pain for a while. Running a hot bath after a long, tiring day can bring relaxation to tight muscles and aching limbs. Calming yourself with Epsom salts and bubbles can work wonders in improving the view of your next few hours. And when you are aching, scared, and feeling alone, that may be all the further ahead you can look. Venturing forward into tomorrow’s plans can seem too harsh and too much of a herculean effort. If you find yourself in this situation, know that you need look no further than what you are able. The future – at least tomorrow – will take care of itself, so concentrate on making it through just today.

Calming yourself with bright hope and promises of better days can truly be a gift. Realize that you will not always feel lost and alone. Encourage yourself by singing that famous song from Annie, “The sun will come out tomorrow…..” Even though tomorrow may seem daunting, it can give you the incentive you need to make it through your present day.

Allow the tears to flow, the rocking to proceed, and the healing to resume as you find ways of calming yourself along your grief journey. Embracing your fears and hurts will actually help propel you forward along your grief journey.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. Having hope and purpose is not impossible when facing loss and pain. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

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Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

What do you say

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A friend reminded me today that my situation is unlike others in my office. When they call it a day and return to their homes, they have a husband or wife to talk to. The challenges or joys of their days are shared with others using a face-to-face conversation with a flesh-and-blood person. When I return home it is quiet and empty. What do you say when there is no one there to listen to you?

How do you unload the heaviness of your day when you are missing a loved one? What can you do to celebrate a success and incredible joy when you can no longer hear their voice and they yours? Is there a substitute to use in filling the void? What do you say and whom do you say it to as you journey through another layer of your loss and grief?

Talking aloud is quite therapeutic actually. I speak out loud often when I pray, realizing that God hears me just as well when I am silently beseeching Him. However, there is something to be said for actually voicing your thoughts. It feels a little more like actual human conversation when I push air through my vocal chords and allow the sound of my own voice to reach my ears. Knowing that God is listening is a comfort and I utilize this method of speech often.

Perhaps you are not real comfortable praying, even though it is just conversation with God. But if you would rather try something different, you can voice your thoughts, joys, fears, highs, and lows through the written word. There is something special about taking a pen to paper and allowing the words – the speech – to flow. While writing or journaling about your day is not exactly the same as verbally telling your story, at least you have found an outlet for your pent-up emotions.

What do you say when you find yourself dissatisfied and needing more though? You look for a trustworthy friend. A confidant in whom you can safely share your wounds and your wonders. This person should listen and not interrupt you. They should not judge you how you are feeling. It would never dawn on them to tell you how wrong you are to feel the way you do. Instead, they encourage you as they listen before sharing their own view of the situation. Hearing their perspective on things will ease your stress. Even if you do not agree with every word they share, you know that at least they care and you are not alone.

What do you say when the words run dry? When your emotions are too thick and messy to decipher and translate for someone who has not experienced your kind of pain and hurt? That is when silence is best. The quiet whisper in your soul calling out to God, “Help me, help me, help me.” never gets old to Him. He is ready and willing to not only listen, but to then ease your ache as only God can.

A favorite part of scripture is from Philippians 4:6-7. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” I especially like the part of God giving us peace. As you wonder, what do you say next time, be assured that there is Someone waiting and eager to listen to you.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. Having hope and purpose is not impossible when facing loss and pain. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

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Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Project Runway

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One of my favorite shows is Project Runway. I enjoy seeing the creativity of those designers. Watching how they make unbelievable clothing from practically nothing at times amazes me. Seeing their success inspires me to take what resources I hold and turn them into a beautiful life.

On Project Runway there is always a twist or theme to which the designers must adhere. However, on the grief journey, there are no such rules or outlines. No one can tell you what today should look like or what tomorrow will hold. So it is up to you to take every opportunity to cherish the past while you create lovely memories for your future.

As I watch the designers sketch, cut, and sew their creations, oftentimes their plans seem to make no sense. It is hard to catch the vision of their end goal. When Tim Gunn enters the room and gives his critique, alterations may occur and a new direction taken due to his expert advice.

Your journey is much the same. You may find that the path you are walking is not healthy or good for you. Perhaps you are failing to care for yourself physically. Maybe you have entered into harmful relationships where your best interest is not considered. Seeing these dangers and difficulties, you may need to change your path. Alter your journey in order to build a better life for yourself. While you are in the middle of grief, it is not easy to envision what your life will look like tomorrow, next month, or next year. However, it is important that you do your best to live each day with wise choices, being ready to adjust and make alterations along the way.

Five years after the loss of my husband, I am now seeing more good days. Life seems a bit brighter. I have had to make adjustments along the way and I am sure more will occur just down the road. That is all part of life in general. Preparing yourself to make small alterations in your journey as you are able, will help you fashion a better life for yourself in your own Project Runway experience.

The grief journey is not what anybody gladly chooses. However, it is something that everyone will experience at some time in life. Being willing to sketch, cut, and create your own new path will guide you toward a beautiful creation in the future. A creation that is brighter and better than you might ever think possible.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. Having hope and purpose is not impossible when facing loss and pain. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

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Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

The Empty Room

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I recently attended a funeral. While I didn’t personally know the deceased, I am very close to several of his family members. We arrived early to make sure all the details were being handled for the music and media that would be used during the service. At one point, everyone left that family holding room leaving me to myself. I stood and looked around realizing the significance of the moment in that empty room. Having experienced an incredibly difficult loss myself five years ago, I took a few minutes to think back over time to see the empty room for what it stood for in my own life.

When all the friends and family go home after the service and the obligatory condolences are said, you are left with the empty room. There comes a time all too soon after your loss when you find yourself alone and trying to figure out what is next. One moment you have more than enough people around you and then the next you would give almost anything for the diversion and company of someone sitting with you again.

The empty room conveys a closure to your loss that you may not be prepared for. Seeing the vacancy that loss brings is stark and painful. No longer can you hide behind the need to play host or hostess to a room full of people. Keeping busy meeting others’ needs and concentrating on anything but your own hurt and loss is no longer an option. Now the empty room looms over your days and nights.

Now that you see the barrenness that grief can bring, how do you handle it? What can you do to move forward on your journey and not feel locked away and trapped by the empty room? Recognizing the posture of being alone is the first step. When you find yourself dreading to return to your own empty room, be intentional to change your position. Make plans to go out with friends. Invite someone over, asking them to pick up dinner on the way. It is within your power to alter the emptiness.

For those times when the empty room persists, embrace the quiet. Set aside time to mourn, remember, cry, and be thankful for what you once had. Realize that your daily schedule may not give you the time you need to heal. So take advantage of the empty room to do just that – begin to heal and face the reality of your loss. This will be the beginning of learning how to live again with the great change that has been brought into your life.

Be encouraged when you see the empty room. Don’t feel that you need to run from it, but also don’t feel trapped by its existence. It’s just a room. What you do with it will make the difference in your own grief journey.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. Having hope and purpose is not impossible when facing loss and pain. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

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Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Being Yourself

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I remember when I was a kid someone asked me who I wanted to be when I grew up. Not “what” but “who.” At that time, I named a person that I admired saying I wanted to be like them. While we all may feel like taking on someone else’s identity at times, as an adult you need to realize that is not best for you. It is important to embrace the fact that you are special and unique and you should be yourself.

While walking through grief, it is understandable to wish to be someone else, thinking anyone else’s journey is easier and better than the one you are traveling right now. There are several problems with this way of thinking though.

The first and most obvious one is that you can’t do it. You cannot be someone else. No matter how hard you wish for it, you are who you are. Your dreams of someone else’s life will not change your day-to-day walk that is currently filled with loss and hardship. Wishing to be anyone but who you are will not get you where you need to go.

Another challenge to wishing to be someone else is that doing so will not help to move you forward in your grief journey. Progress and healing will only begin when you accept what has come into your life. Only then will you be in the position to receive help. You don’t have to like what is happening in your life, but you do need to be realistic and admit that your life has changed. That is the first step to learning to being yourself again.

Even though your life has changed, you are the same person. Yes, you are shaped by the circumstances you face. But you do not have to be defeated by those conditions. Proudly be yourself – for no one else can be. You have something to offer. You complete a space in this world that nobody else can fill. As you convince yourself of this truth, you can find joy again. Have the confidence that life will settle down, even out, and you have many things to look forward to as you concentrate on being yourself.

That is how Grief Letters came to be. Through my own journey in facing the pain of loss, I decided to take the things I had learned and share them. In doing so, I found healing and hope that I could pass on to others through my writing. If I had denied who I was and what was happening to me, I would never have had the opportunity to write, publish, and help others.

Being yourself is the best decision you can make as you learn to live life well and move forward in your grief.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. Having hope and purpose is not impossible when facing loss and pain. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

ResizeImageHandler.ashx

Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

The days after

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So much effort is put into anticipating and preparing for special holidays, that you are often surprised by the days after it is all over. Thanksgiving and Christmas have already come and gone. Those special days you have come to dread without your loved one are finally finished. You have survived. Perhaps you enjoyed those harder days a bit more than you thought you would. The opportunity to laugh and smile came into play and you grasped those, filling your mind with new and different memories. Or perhaps you merely scraped by each day, putting forth the effort only for the sake of friends and loved ones still with you.

Many people feel sadness when the holidays are over. The much awaited excitement ends and a let-down from the process can occur. However, there is also a kind of relief that takes places for those on the grief journey. Now that the holidays are over, it is possible to let down your guard a little more. You do not find it necessary to brace for those waves of sadness and nostalgia that hit at the most inopportune times when others around you are laughing and enjoying the celebrations.

Along with the relief can come a bit of satisfaction that you really did make it through the holidays. Not only that, but hopefully you can find one or two truly golden moments to remember with fondness. Look back at the past month that has been full of activities, parties and gatherings, and demands. Celebrate and applaud yourself for accomplishing what you doubted you could live through. You survived the holidays!

As each year passes, the holidays will get better too. You will face them with less dread, you will find more joy, and you will create new traditions. Take a moment to breathe and realize that your future can look bright. Set your sights on what you want to accomplish now that the world around you is returning to “post-holiday normal” and decide what you will do next.

The grieving are not the only people facing a sort of depression and sadness the days after the holidays are over. Many people encounter quite a let-down after all their planning and celebrating. However, you and I have already learned to adjust to newness and changing times. You have an advantage on the rest of the world. You know you can face loss and life that is different from before. Take that knowledge and run with it. Plan new adventures for the upcoming new year. Revel in the fact that God has seen you through this past difficult month.

As you face the future of the days after, know that it can be a blank slate upon which you write your own possibilities, hopes, and dreams. Move forward with as much joy as you can muster and be open to blessings that are in store for you.

Until next time –

Karen

With a new year upon us, consider buying Grief Letters for a loved one or for yourself. Begin the year with hope and purpose. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

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Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.