Christmas Survival

I lost my oldest brother Rudy in December 2016. It was sudden and still to this day, a shock. Sudden death or “out of order” deaths are harder to deal with, in my opinion. I have lost people to cancer, old age, other health issues, but nothing has ever compared to how we lost Rudy. It was a car accident. We had no warning, and we are still here four years later trying to pick up the pieces.

Well, it’s that time of year again. The dreaded end of the year rush. The season is changing. December is here, and with that, all these emotions resurface once again. The feeling of waking up every morning, thinking something terrible is going to happen. Days when the weather feels just like it did on that terrible day … cloudy and misty. It rained for what felt like a year straight after Rudy died. 2016 was the year the drought officially ended.

Keeping busy is easy during this end of the year rush. From filling out paperwork for benefits, shopping for the holidays and making sure you have enough Clorox & Lysol, there’s plenty to do.

Make sure you give yourself enough “me” time to check in with yourself. Allow yourself the down time you need to reflect or just be alone. I still have days when I just don’t want to be bothered, when I need and want to be alone. I’ll write or journal my daily thoughts and struggles which usually leads me to check on my grief, figure out how I’m feeling or just have a good cry. As odd as it sounds, your body craves it. You cry, release all these endorphins and guess what? The release will help ease the pain. After a good cry, you’ll feel better, lighter even. All these years, and I still have enough tears to fill this room.

As hard as it sounds, you have to remember what and who you have. Hold on to those holiday memories and traditions. A lot can change in the blink of an eye. I always do my best to be festive, or at least try, for my niece who is Rudy’s goddaughter. If it was up to me, I wouldn’t bother with the holidays. They just aren’t the same any more without Rudy. But they matter to my niece. She keeps us busy, and every day, I see more and more of Rudy in her. It’s heartbreakingly beautiful. We have to keep the traditions we had with the ones who are no longer here as well as start new traditions to help remember them and make the change of seasons less painful. Then maybe one day, we will feel the magic of the season again. And if not, that is okay, too.

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