When the holiday season begins, with the Christmas carols, the smell of Christmas trees, Christmas lights, decorations and all the things that fill us with Christmas joy… I start to feel the presence of my grief. I know it’s there, I anticipate it and sometimes the anticipation is the hardest part; but for the last 14 years it has become a part of my Christmas reality.
Sometimes I wish I could just dress my grief up in a super fabulous Christmas ensemble and introduce it to everyone I see during the difficult times to make it easier for all of us!
“Hey guys, this is my grief-it’s going to be hanging out with us for the next few days; hope you don’t mind! I got it all dressed up and fancy so I’m hoping it won’t make you feel too uncomfortable?”
I wonder, what would it look like? Is it a fairy, a monster, a teddy bear? I feel like it is all of those things and more, depending on the day!
My brother was freakin amazing, like 4 dimensional, never a dull moment, light up the room amazing! Under all that amazing, he suffered from depression for as long as I can remember; and in the early hours of December 20, 2002 he lost his battle with depression and left a giant hole in my heart. Fourteen years later and here I am, still feeling that hole in my heart and entertaining this grief I’ve got dressed up like Liberace.
I hardly remember the first few years with it; I was literally drowning in an overwhelming sea of grief. It was full on survival mode and that grief was a tornado, a monster, a horrifying roller coaster that I couldn’t get off. There was no room for me to bedazzle that grief, it just took me along with IT for the ride.
Along the way I remember thoughtful cards, human connections, hugs, words of hope, hearing from other people with similar losses… all things that helped me to wrangle that horrid ugly monster of grief into something a little more manageable.
With Christmas and all that comes along with it, I never know when the sneaky little pain in the butt is going to show up… I feel like I’m holding my breath and peeking around every corner before I make a move just to be certain it doesn’t take me by surprise. But you know what? Sometimes it does whether I like it or not; it sneaks up and gets all ugly and nasty. I have learned to just sit through the ugly and nasty grief and when it settles down I can add some glitter with a happy memory and dress it back up!
Tonight my grief is sitting on my chest with the weight of a thousand elephants. It’s unattractive, unavoidable and staring me right in the face; so I will entertain it for a bit and in the morning I will look for some extra glitter to sprinkle on it before I head out into the world.
I miss you big bro, I have never stopped missing you or wishing you were here.
Written by Susanne Faith and originally published on Medium.