Grieving for the loss of loved ones is always an emotionally and painful condition but there is something about this time of year during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays that brings it even more to the forefront.
When my wonderful wife Louise ( Bubba ) Jackson passed away in March of 1998 my daughter Martha, son-in-law Jimmy and granddaughter Jessica were living with us at the time. That year was tough on us but when Thanksgiving and Christmas were approaching it was even worse. So much so that we didn't even decorate or do any thing special for Christmas. As they say hindsight is 20-20 and looking back now I think that was a mistake.
Thanks giving and Christmas were Bubba's favorite holidays and I now believe she was probably disappointed that we didn't celebrate them.
As most of you know the Good Lord looked out for me and led me to meet my beautiful wife Joan. She also loves the holidays. Well lo and behold on Christmas Eve 2002 her beautiful daughter Janet, her son Christopher and Christopher's father Chris were going up to Apoka to spend Christmas Eve with the other grand parents, Marion and Glifford and coming back Christmas morning to spend Christmas with us. They stopped by the house to pick up some gifts. Janet who also loved Christmas was so excited and happy. As she was leaving, she said bye Mom & Joe, I love you, Merry Christmas, she gave us a kiss and one hour later she was dead due to a tragic accident on the Florida Turnpike.
These holidays are clearly some of the roughest times we can go through after losing people we love so much. The ways we deal with them are as individual as we are. In Joan's case the next Christmas after Janet's death I said to her I don't know how you do it , although I can't read your heart and mind you seem to be able to handle this time of the year very well. You seem to have the same enthusiasm for Christmas as you always have. She said Joe I still have you, I have another daughter, I have a grandson, I have other family and friends that I love very much and I can't let my loss cause me to drag every ones Christmas spirit down. She then said that Janet would be very upset with her if she let that happen, as she loved Christmas and every thing associated with it and would want us all to celebrate it has we always had.
Holidays can be sad, but think about the person you are mourning for and ask yourself how would they feel if you did not allow yourself to go on and continue to celebrate Christmas the same way you did when they were alive. In most cases I bet they would want you to enjoy family, friends and the joy of the season as you did when they were here.
I came across this old picture with Janet's image showing in the mirror and this is how I think it is now, her image is always with us, and she will only be having a good time if her family and friends are having a good time.
Janet we miss you so much and we love you dearly but in your honor we are going to celebrate just as if you were still with us, because we know that is what you would want us to do.
Take the time to view this video, it will also show you why you should continue to celebrate the holidays and not feel guilty about having fun.
Merry Christmas to all our dear family and friends, may you and yours have a wonderful Christmas filled with happiness and love.