This post is for those that have empty seats at their table or in their hearts this season because of the loss of a loved one. Loss because of death or a broken relationship. This holiday, like no other, many of us feel bruised and broken by all the losses we have experienced. There will be many empty seats at my table this year, but my heart will also be full of love and memories.  Pondering on memories can cause pain, but as you move through your pain, you reach healing.  This is the whisper of hope shining in the darkness.

Christmas has always been a very festive time for my family. We celebrate all things of the holiday, each other, lots of food and presents. This year will be so different because we have lost many family members near and far. I have lost a nephew, sister-cousin, brother in law, cousins by marriage, second cousins and many friends. I understand plowing through a holiday with a heavy heart. The season leaves you feeling hopeless and cold, instead of hopeful and heartwarming.  It is ok not to feel all holly and jolly right now. If you need a little extra support, reach out.  You do not need to travel the journey toward the whisper of hope all alone.

My loved ones energized any room that they entered, including every room of my heart. Their deaths remind us how precious life really is. They remind us that even though they have gone before us, that life remains worth living, to love each other fully while you can and that we need to live every minute with passion. Our loved ones will always be woven into the fabric of our lives and everyone else’s that they touched with their special selves. The weight of our grief will come like waves, some gently washing over us with a touch of sadness and some like a tidal wave knocking us to our knees.  There will also be the waves of love, laughter and joy of all the wonderful memories and traditions you shared.

If this is the first year of having an empty seat at your table and you are overwhelmed with loss, go ahead and feel it. Cry big tears. Weep and wail. Let it out. Cry in the shower, yell in the closet, find a punching bag. Remember that grief takes us on a roller coaster of emotions that we must ride whether we want to or not. But, this ride is not supposed to last forever. Ignoring the pain will not make it go away, it just sits there and grows until it finds a way out. As you ride through these painful emotions, let the love of your lost loved ones remind you that they want you to live life to its fullest. Even during the very holidays when you may miss them the most. If you feel like this roller coaster is or has been never ending, reach out. It is ok if you need help getting off this awful ride. There is comfort and relief available for you.

The emotional roller coaster is real.  Broken hearts are real.  The sad feelings you have are real.  But, hope and healing are real.  Just as a real ride on a roller coaster takes you on ups and down, navigating grief and sadness do, as well.  Knowing how to ride these feelings toward your destination of prevailing prepares you for the deep turns and dips.  This wisdom helps you weather your storms of loss and pain with endurance, focus and knowledge that hope is coming.

So, take a few moments this season to remember all of your lost loved ones in the ornaments and traditions that remind you of them, their favorite food, song, movie and jokes. And when your tears rise up, let them out knowing that laughter will soon return. Our weeping endures for a night, but our joy will come. My wish and prayer for you is that the peace that surpasses all understanding comfort you during this season and all the days to come.  If you need someone to guide you toward your whispers of hope and help you Prevail, contact us today at