Whatever your tradition, the next few weeks tend to be a time when family and friends come together to enjoy each other’s company, laugh about old times and create new memories. For many, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year.
But for some, like a dear friend of mine, the holidays are not necessarily merry. Knowing her crafty, creative self, she’ll do everything in her power to make the holidays as joyous as possible for her loved ones – cooking and baking and opening her heart and home to all, as usual. I know though, not-so-deep down, she will be aching for the “baby girl” she lost.
Now, I don’t mean to be Debbie Downer during this time of brightly-lit trees, candles, faces and moods, but I just want to take a moment to reflect. I feel grateful knowing that, as I kiss my kids on Christmas morning and take a picture of both of them (present and accounted for) beside the tree, there are folks around me who are hurting, having suffered losses that only those walking in their shoes can begin to imagine.
These people may well be sitting across from us, looking sombre at the holiday dinner table when we think everyone should be rightly merry. One of them may inadvertently cut in front of us in the endless line-up in the store or unknowingly poach our parking spot at the mall, distracted by their heavy hearts and thoughts. We never truly know what pain those around us are enduring. We just never know.
So, as the role models for our little ones, how about we make an extra effort to show empathy and understanding to everyone we meet over the holidays (and beyond) this year. Let’s assume the best of others and consider that maybe the intensity of somebody’s pain is the reason why they’re not behaving the way we think they should.
Maybe they need to feel safe showing how they really feel; safe to be not-so-merry at a time when downright festive is the order of the day. Maybe they need an ear, a shoulder or a keen eye to observe red flags and connect them with the supports available in our community. Maybe they just didn’t see you waiting for that parking spot!
Whatever your situation, pain or plight, I wish you peace, love and understanding during the holidays and always – and to all, a good night.
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About this blogger:
Paula D’Orazio RN is a public health nurse with the Early Years Health Program at the Halton Region Health Department. Wanna know more about her? Read her blogs! She’ll tell ya! (She kinda likes to talk.)
Thanks, Paula, for an insightful look at the holidays. I try to remember that extra grace and patience is needed this time of year for everyone – my mom, my kids, the store clerks, the driver who cuts me off on the highway, etc.
In my work facilitating the Burlington PMD support group, we try to spend time before and after the holidays unplacking what makes them so stressful, beyond trying to manage with a new baby. There is the weight of family expectations, financial stress, lack of sleep, and sadness for past Christmases that were disappointing, to name a few. Moms are encouraged to do something for themselves and “be in the moment” when possible.