While the holidays are happy and joyful for most of us, it can also be painful and hard, especially if you have lost a loved one recently. My husband has lost both of his parents and has no siblings. This time of the year is difficult for him. Dominic was just a baby when my father-in-law passed away, but he did get to know my mother-in-law pretty well. This past Saturday, Dominic said several times, "Grandma in heaven." It was SO HARD not to start crying. What's interesting is that this is around the time she became very ill three years ago. He's a very intuitive little guy. My mother-in-law spent about two weeks in the hospital, before being transferred to hospice where she passed away less than a week later. Dominic and Lauren both spent almost everyday visiting her during that time frame. I asked Dominic on Saturday, "do you still miss her?" He said, "yes."
Grief has no timetable, you can't say to yourself, "okay, now I'm done grieving this person." Grieving a loss is not something you get "over." I've always thought of it more like finding a way to cope. My cousin passed away unexpectedly in March of 2011. She was someone that I grew up with and we were less than two years apart in age. She left behind many, many family members (including a daughter) and several friends. What would have been her 52nd birthday was just a few weeks ago and I thought about her the whole day. I still miss her very much. I've probably mentioned this before in previous blog posts, but the only way that I have found to handle the losses in my life has been to pray for them. Losing a parent or grandparent when you are young is very difficult. When my father-in-law passed away, given that he was in the Army, they played Taps at his viewing. I felt so sorry for Lauren, as soon as she heard it, she just started crying really hard. She was very close to him and was devastated when he passed away. From time to time she still cries about him. I feel helpless in comforting her, so I give her lots of hugs. If you know someone that has lost a loved one (even if it hasn't been recently), give them a call, send a text, tweet, Facebook message or a note with this simple message, "thinking of you." I guarantee it will mean everything in the world to the recipient that even though their loved one is gone, they have not been forgotten.