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I looked at some old pictures today. My mom and dad were in them. In many ways, it seemed like I turned the hands of the clock backward. Thoughts began to form in my mind. Laughter and favourite sayings brought a smile to my face. Special celebrations marched before me in my memory. This wasn’t always the way, as I remember when I had difficulty looking at pictures, and I recall thinking for a long time that it would have been special to have had my parents longer.

This morning I wrote an email to a friend whose mother died a short time ago. Even though we come close again to remembering our own emotionally painful time when we do this, it is still good to find a way to care for others.  Especially at Christmas when we want every chair to be filled, we are aware that one or more precious people may no longer be with us.

Some of the words I wrote are:These are significant days with special memories. It’s a painful period of letting go a little bit at a time, as your mind, soul and heart release grief. And at Christmas, when we are used to gathering our friends and family together, we resist letting go of a loved one’s presence. 

And that struggle to keep close and to let go is heartbreaking, and it robs energy day after day. You have the year of firsts ahead of you and in many ways similar to your father, you will make your path through in your own way.

Suffering through his death not so long ago and now your mom . . . leaves insurmountable grief to unpack a little at a time. You will do it in your own process. I’ll keep you in my prayers.

You will easily see that death is the grief for this individual, however, there are many other situations in one’s life that cause deep sorrow: divorce, estranged relations with family, a missing loved one or friend, articles, keepsakes, a limb, poverty and many more.

Perhaps during this Christmas season, you could write a note to someone who is grieving. Maybe your love and compassion will help to ease their pain.

If this blog has brought back some memories, perhaps you can jot them down in your journal to recall at another time.