The Caregiver's Soapbox

Volume 17    www. thedead-beat.com    Issue 4


by Joanne Howard

I’ve struggled to collect my thoughts to share in this issue.  I have been imparting my feelings over the years in relation to my personal grief.  So with this being the issue near the Christmas holidays, I have my normal challenges.  People who have lost loved ones in the distant past or just recently, the holidays bring memories which help and hurt.

at1My husband and I have a bit of challenge during the holidays, partly because our youngest daughter died close to the Christmas holiday.  The fact that she died on the day she was supposed to sing in a trio in the children’s Christmas program at church makes those types of programs a sad time.  Even though it’s been 21 years this year, I still have a tendency to hesitate wanting to support those activities.  Not that you don’t want everyone to enjoy them it just brings forward many memories.

Of course, everything got a bit intensified when our second daughter died six years later.  So now we don’t have our children, but they would be of the age that we might have had grandchildren too.  Seeing the girls’ friends with their children gives another dimension of sadness and missing something else.

These experiences do get better as time passes, but trust me the feelings of loss never go away.  But I don’t mention this for sympathy, it’s just something to keep in mind when dealing with friends and relatives that have losses, especially losing around holidays.

Lately I have had friends and relatives that have lost spouses, parents and children.  This will be the first holiday season without their loved ones and it will be hard.  I continue to pray for those who have had these losses.  I’m not really sure how to help these people because I strongly feel that everybody deals with grief differently.  Yes, there are some similarities, but depending on your relationship impacts how strongly that grief will hit you. 

You must try to dwell on those happy memories you have of your loved ones, especially at the holidays.  Remember that day that you were able to share your love.  It might bring tears.  But they will be tears of happiness that those special people were in your life for however long.

at2I’m really not a Scrooge, but I have a tendency not to really decorate much for Christmas. I would prefer no criticism for that since we really have no one that would see it and Christmas is in our hearts and I’ll decorate my column.

This year has been very occupied with church activities that has created many demands on my time.  Hopefully I am sharing my love with others with my efforts and keeping me from dwelling on my losses at this time of the year.

Remember there are many people having many trials and tribulations in their lives, but grief isn’t always that evident.  Let God be your guide to provide support to those that need it.

I feel this has been a bit of bummer column. But I truly hope I celebrate the holidays with gratefulness in my heart that I have had all my loved ones in my life and will see them again someday.


About the author:  Joanne Howard is the editor of The Dead Beat.  She has been a licensed funeral director since 1992 with Pugh Funeral Home in Golden City, MO and also the aftercare coordinator. Much of her writing in this column is influenced by her loss of her two daughters Laura at age 10 in 1997 and Amy at age 19 in 2003.  Any comments or questions can be directed to 417-537-4412, P.O. Box 145, Golden City, MO  64748 or email:  jfhoward53@yahoo.com

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