Page 10 - 2017 Autumn-Winter Issue
P. 10

The late Darcie Sims wrote hundreds of articles over the years on grief and
loss which have been extremely popular and shared in hundreds of TCF
publications. We Need Not Walk Alone is proud to honor her by featuring
selections of her work in a column titled “The Wisdom of Darcie Sims.”

The Wisdom of Darcie Sims

Handling the Holidays

The holidays are coming and I’m not ready. Everything           getting through the
seems to sparkle and there is always so much to do! It          upcoming holidays.
is a festive time, filled with joyous occasions and family
gatherings. But when your family circle has been broken by      Give yourself the
death, holidays and special days may only serve to remind
you of the empty space at the table, the hole in your heart.    gift of individuality

I am not sure if I will ever again be ready. The world has      this holiday season.
simply gone mad and I, like you, have been caught in a          Claim your grief,
horrible nightmare that seems as if it will never end. My       become aware of it, acknowledge it, and create an action
own world twisted apart a long time ago, but you may be         plan to cope with it. Be cautious in what you try, however.
just starting on this path through the valley of despair. You   Some things will never work while others will only
may still be “frozen” in disbelief and even though days and     postpone or delay your grief.
weeks have passed, you may still be numb and in shock.
                                                                Use your common sense. You did not lose that, although it
And even though your world may seem as though it has            may seem that way (at least to others!). You know what you
stopped, the calendar says it’s holiday time and you may be     need, so give yourself permission to grieve your way this
wondering what to do with the empty chair at the table and      holiday season. Do whatever works for you. Just be careful
what is there to be thankful for this year. The holiday season  of drugs, alcohol and high places. None of those work
is a time when the past and the present collide. We try to      effectively and can lead to additional problems that you
recapture what we once had or blot out bad memories. We         don’t need right now (or ever!).
try to ignore the empty chair.
                                                                Be tired. Be hurt. Be grieving. Your tears are a symbol of
As we set the dishes and count the silverware, we are acutely   the love you shared. Let them flow in whatever way you
aware of the empty places at the family table. We try to        need as you find your way through the pain and into the
find the holiday spirit, but when the family circle has been    light of memories and love. Grief is an individual journey.
broken by death, the only things that sparkle this season,      No one can walk it for us. Each footprint must be our own.
may be tears. We hold our breath and hope the holidays
go quickly. We doubt we can endure too long. We sit in the      Be patient with yourself. Know that hardly anyone is as
dark, because we think we have lost the light.                  happy as you think they might be. We all have our hurts to
                                                                bear. Do what you can this season and let it be enough.
Instead of bringing warmth, love, and excitement, the
holiday season can be a painful reminder of the empty space     Be realistic. It will hurt, but don’t try to block bad moments.
at the table, of the terrible hole in the family fabric. But    Be ready for them. Lay in a supply of tissues (a roll of toilet
there are some things you can do to help ease the footprints    paper is even more efficient!). Let those hurting moments
that grief leaves on our soul. It is with a heavy heart and     come, deal with them and let them go.
an outstretched helping hand that we offer these tips for
                                                                Be kind and gentle to yourself. Figure out what you should
                                                                do, balance it with what you are capable of doing and them
                                                                compromise. Forgive yourself for living.

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