Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

Gifts of Christmas

Date: 
Monday, December 24, 2012
Posted By: 
Jodi Salata

We welcome Jodi Salata to the blog today.  Jodi is in the process of starting her life coaching business.  You can find out more about her here.  Thanks, Jodi!

There's something special about Christmastime for me.  It's cozy. The world seems smaller, quieter, a stillness falls across the land. As everything sleeps, it feels magical. A time to remember those who've passed on. A time to remember the year past.

Christmas Eve in 2009 was our first night alone. My boys, 2 & 5 at the time, and I spent a very solemn evening with my late husband's parents, sister, aunt & cousins. I remember forced smiles over tears. I was a shell--numb.  Tears flowed freely. At one point, I just snuggled up to my father-in- law for the comfort of human touch and the shared pain of such an enormous loss. There was a heaviness in the air. To move was an effort. The boys and I packed up and went home to a requested empty house and woke to a Christmas morning that proves life goes on. Although Christmas is hard without John's twinkling, smiling eyes, there are constant reminders that he's with us always. Every snowflake is his, “Hello, I'm thinking of you.” The smell of wood burning reminds me of many shared mornings & nights by the fire. He was allergic to scented candles and walked into people's houses and blew them out. He was such a character. He loved the shared time and love with family at the holidays. He was big on traditions. Stockings must be stuffed to overflowing.

I will tell you that 2009 was our year of miracles. We received so many John blessings. If anything has been able to make this grief journey bearable it was that. We saw family more than ever throughout the year. It was the best year of our marriage. His sister had this amazing birthday party and someone had gifted her a photographer for the event. We got so many amazing pictures of John and his family. Not a single double chin or closed eye shot in the bunch. Talk about seeing the bad things that happen as a gift, the week before thanksgiving John's dad fell off a ladder and shattered his elbow. John was laid off the next day. In those two possible bad events, John and his dad spent almost every day of the next month together, a gift for sure. John was able to talk to his sister the night before he died. Their conversation was prophetic. As terrible as it all was to lose him, we all always consider him a gift. A gift I feel so blessed to have ever been graced with. God gave him to the world the day after Christmas and took him home on his favorite day of the year--his family Christmas party.

I feel part of healing my pain is honoring it. My way to survive the holiday season is to know there are no “have to's”. We, as parents, are always just making the best decisions we can at the time. It's my life. I work at living in a state of gratitude and finding the blessings in my life. It's not always easy. Events are more enjoyable for me because I'm not thinking about what was or what could've been. I'm right here, right now. The greatest gift John ever gave me besides his love was his family. Surrounding myself with them helps, even though it can be a reminder. We have new life in the family, 2 beautiful twin boys. Watching 4 boys rip through a pile of presents is a joy we can only find at Christmas. We sleep at my in-law’s home and share Christmas morning with them and his sister. Grief is a balancing act of joy and pain. Every time a painful memory comes, I can honor it with reverence then follow it with a joyful moment or being grateful.

Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas. May you find peace and comfort in the season. The greatest gift you can give someone is your time & attention. Let your presence be the present this holiday.

Love & Light

Jodi

Comments

Brilliantly written & from your heart & soul...thank you for sharing... Happy Birthday wishes to John in Heaven today. Much love ❤❤❤

Beautiful words Jodi . I thought of you and John a lot today. This was always his time of year. Happy Birthday dear John, you are loved and missed. Thank you for giving Jodi and your children to our family.

Your Mom sent me this to read, I thank God for His healing in your life and your gratitude to enjoy each day and see them as a gift. We have so many blessings around us that we miss or don't appreciate until they are gone. Proud of you Jodi.

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