Feeling the Holiday Blues

oval-candle-brightphotograph by Sara B. Healy

The Gift of Grieving

Holidays are not always happy and merry. When I was sixteen I lost my father to cancer at Christmas time. That was a difficult and painful holiday season, and it continued to be for quite a few years. This confused me because I felt I should be joyful and happy like my friends.

The holidays seemed to make my grief worse and it scared me sometimes; I wondered if I would ever recover from my father’s death. While I did recover eventually, 41 years later I still feel twinges of sadness during the holidays.

I’ve had many years to sort this out and understand these moments of sadness. I no longer fight them or pretend they don’t exist. Instead, I allow and accept them. I know they are reminders of the love I had for someone I lost.

When I was young no one explained how grief works, or that holidays like Christmas might bring back memories of that difficult time. I continued to feel like the odd person out because I wasn’t always happy during the holidays.

Today, I know there are people around the world who are experiencing a trauma during this time. Perhaps they’ve lost someone they love, an important relationship has ended, or they fear for someone who is ill. Whatever it is, this may not be an especially happy time for them. Their fear or sadness may conflict with the expectations of joy during the holidays.

I’ve been inspired to write this poem for anyone who is experiencing pain or sadness during this holiday season. I hope it reminds them to not deny or fight their feelings, but to allow them without guilt.

A Poem for the Holiday Blues

I see you. I know you are there.
You hide from the bright lights this holiday.
And the constant cheer is really hard for you to bear.

You turn away from the store man wishing all a happy holiday.
You turn off the radio because every station plays holiday music.
You turn from the jolly smiling faces as they create more dismay.

It’s not that you are a Scrooge, saying “Bah, humbug.”
It’s not that you don’t want to share the joy this time of year.
It’s not that the happy people don’t give your heartstrings a tug.

It’s just that it’s hard for you to put on a happy holiday mask.
When your sadness, loneliness and grief
Make getting out of bed a momentous task.

So, if you don’t want to celebrate the holidays like everyone else,
It’s okay. Don’t be afraid to let your feelings flow.
By acknowledging them, you allow yourself to let them go.

These holidays celebrate the birth of hope and healing.
Those of us who’ve walked your path know that this sadness
Will make way for hope if you accept what you’re feeling.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

While I wish you all a wonderful holiday and a happy new year, I also hope you’ll  keep in your heart the people who may not be having a happy holiday this year. They need your compassion and prayers. I ask you to stop, take a moment and send them your warm thoughts of hope this season.

p.s. I want to thank Davina of Shades of Crimson for encouraging me to write and share this poem. For a month, she has been sharing her beautiful, thoughtful and sometimes humorous poetry. Davina’s gift for poetry, as well as her courage and persistence, have challenged and inspired me:~)

Due to the holidays, I will not have a post this coming Monday, but do plan one for Thursday.

26 comments on “Feeling the Holiday Blues

  1. Joanna Young says:

    It’s a lovely poem, and such an important message. Thanks for sharing it.

    Hope you have a good Christmas

    Best wishes, Joanna

  2. Sorry for the loss, it is always hard losing a loved one during the holiday’s as it can taint the holiday’s forever. Nice poem, and full of emotion.
    .-= Dragon Blogger´s last blog ..Find some Unique Free Online Games with Artlogic Games =-.

  3. Patricia says:

    Very lovely and thank you for sharing your good message and kind thoughts. Blessings on your holiday…
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..Reflections =-.

  4. talon says:

    Sara, beautiful poem. We lost my husband’s brother on New Year’s Eve and the loss is always amplified when juxtaposed with the celebratory mood of the year. Though it’s been 9 years this year, the sadness permeates.

    Thank you for sharing your heartfelt and wise poem. So often we push sadness aside, but it’s an important emotion to feel and honor.

    I wish you and JC a lovely holiday.
    .-= talon´s last blog ..Wishing =-.

    • Sara says:

      @ Talon — Thank you for sharing and I am sorry for your family’s loss. I am pleased that the poem touched you. It was my hope that people who feel sadness during the holidays would get some comfort from these words:~)

  5. Thank you for this, Sara. You say it so well. I lost my mom during the holidays, when I was 20, and years later I still get those twinges you speak of. The poem is beautiful.
    .-= Patty – Why Not Start Now?´s last blog ..Before the New Year =-.

    • Sara says:

      @ Patty — Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I am sorry for your loss. You weren’t much older than me when I lost my dad. The twinges do get better as you acknowledge them and I hope that this poem helped a little bit:~)

  6. Sara,
    This is wonderful and a gift to so many. It show the power of poetry and writing. You have blessed the world!
    .-= Tess The Bold Life´s last blog ..Happy Holidays from The Bold Life =-.

  7. suzen says:

    Hi Sara – This poem really touched me. I lost both of my parents in December, separately. For a long time, Xmas was a bitter-sweet event. I spent some quiet time along yesterday, up in my studio alone, while the family was over. Just a brief time, but missing my mom (after 25 yrs!) and had to honor that feeling.

    What a gifted writer you are! It’s a blessing to read your blog – thank you SO much for sharing!

    • Sara says:

      @ SuZen — I am sorry for your loss. Losing both in December must have made this a tough month! I am pleased, however, that you allowed yourself time to miss your mom and didn’t push that feeling away, even though you had people over.

      Maybe our “twinges” of sadness are reminders to us to touch the loved one in our memories. Not to be melodramatic, but maybe it’s like the elephants returning to caress the bones of their dead family members. As always, thanks for your comment:~)

  8. You did an awfully beautiful job on that poem, Sara. You have a great depth and caring to you that is ever becoming more apparent, the more I get to know you.

    You and Davina are both shining stars in my life!! And I’m so grateful to have met you both this year.

    God bless.

    .-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..A Peanuts Christmas Song For You =-.

    • Sara says:

      @ Jannie — Thanks…I’m not sure why it came out as a poem since that’s not my strength, but I let it write itself. I really appreciate what you said about me…it warmed my heart. I return the sentiment and I am ever so grateful that I have you in my blogosphere. You always have a way of tickling my funny bone and giving me lots of smiles.:~)

      Both Izzy and I wish you and blue bunny (as well as your family) a wonderful, magical and happy new year:~)

  9. Davina says:

    Hi Sara.
    I’m so glad you shared this poem. It is very heartfelt and full of sensitivity. A prime example of how just giving ourselves permission to “feel” empowers us. From my own personal experience, I’ve found that when I resist my feelings they only feel heavier. What a weight to carry. Thank you for the mention too. 🙂 Happy New Year!
    .-= Davina´s last blog ..Put the Message in the Box =-.

    • Sara says:

      @ Davina — I have learned a lesson this holiday….do not wait too long before you answer comments!!! I almost missed yours and I would have regretted not replying. I agree that resisting feelings makes them weigh you down and this is especially true of grief or sadness. We tend to want to avoid these feelings…it is natural. However, when we let them be with us, they tend to not stay around as long:~)

      I also want to thank you for the recent poetry you’ve shared at your site. It was a major reason this post came out in a poem. There’s something wonderful about reading someone’s poetry. The rhyme and the rhythm get stuck in your head…like a song! I hope you will continue to share your beautiful poetry with us:~)

  10. Robin says:

    Hi Sara – I really like what you are saying here – there is far too much “pull those cheeks apart and smile” philosophy going around the blogosphere, I think.

    Acknowledging how we are really feeling is a very important part of healing – and masking our feelings leads to illnesses.

    All the best – Robin
    .-= Robin´s last blog ..There Is A Vitality =-.

    • Sara says:

      @ Robin — Your comment made me stop and think. I focused on acknowledging sadness, but acknowledging happiness can be just as important.

      Sometimes people who’ve experienced loss will mask feelings of happiness because they believe it’s inappropriate to be happy when something sad has happened. Feeling happy after a loss is like the tiny green sprout you see in a field that was burned…it is the hope of recovery. So, as you said acknowledging ALL feelings is an important part of healing. Thanks for sharing:~)

  11. Tony Single says:

    Thanks for understanding, Sara. The poem says that you do. 🙂
    .-= Tony Single´s last blog ..Taking the Other View =-.

  12. Chris Edgar says:

    Hi Sara — I liked what you said about allowing the feeling of grief to be, exactly as it is, without trying to convince yourself you shouldn’t feel it or diving into some activity to push it away. That sounds to me like a healthy relationship to have with yourself.

    • Sara says:

      @ Chris — I appreciate your words. It’s taken me a long time to realize that allowing my sadness it’s time was the way to live with it comfortably:~)

  13. Liara Covert says:

    This is a beautiful reflection. I can relate to having members of my family experiencing cancer. It is a journey to healing not only for the individual with the perceived illness but also for caregivers and family members who share the energy vibrations. Peace & blessings to you. Know you are never alone.
    .-= Liara Covert´s last blog ..It begins with you =-.

    • Sara says:

      @ Liara — Thanks for sharing these beautiful words. Now that I’ve learned to not fight my twinges of sadness during the holidays, I’m not alone. I can remember my dad, instead of chasing him away because the memory was painful. He’s part of my life in a good way. I hope for the same for others who experienced a loss:~)

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