As you know celebrating the holidays is not easy for me. After the death of my daughter, celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas just gave me a heartache. As the years have passed I have slowly introduced feeling “celebratory” during the holiday season. I must admit at first it was simply putting on the face for all. I find putting up the tree and decorating for the holidays more palatable. But that does not, I repeat, not make it easy. It is just my new normal.
In looking back it was my mother’s passing 25 years ago that created my angst for celebrating the holidays. The holidays became so different for me after my mom’s death and then quickly following five years later, my grandmother passing sealed it for me. I had to create a new normal then with my daughter. Living away from my hometown and family also made it difficult to have that family tradition feeling that I had grown up with. Some of my fondest memories are the ones where my entire extended family joined together each year at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have had to recreate my own traditions many times over as my life changed. Loss from death or divorce – either way – a loss is a loss and starting over means just that.
If it had not been for some of the most incredible friends along my journey that have shown me such love and friendship, I’m not sure I could have gotten to where I am today. You don’t really know who your friends are until you find yourself starting over with just about nothing. My journey to today has been built on my foundational faith in God and a strong network of friends who continue to lift me up and show me what love truly is. Being the hands and feet of Jesus consistently has encouraged me to see beyond my grief.
New Years for me is a time of rebirth. A time to start fresh. Shake off the cloak of grief from the holidays and bring some life back into my world. If anyone taught me the value of living an extraordinary life it was my daughter Brittany. I’ve always said I choose to live a life that gives honor to my daughter’s presence on this earth. She lived an extraordinary life during her 17 years. Facing many trials and tribulations – yet always with a smile on her face and joy in her heart. So I too try to live an extraordinary life. Choosing to be extraordinary rather than ordinary takes faith and it takes a village.
So as you all look at what 2014 will bring – don’t look back but only for a moment to cherish and learn what our children and loved ones taught us while they were here with us. The go forward and live an extraordinary life.
Happy New Year
Until next time,