Grief and Loss and special occasions

“Without you in my arms, I feel an emptiness in my soul. I find myself searching the crowds for your face — I know it’s an impossibility, but I cannot help myself.”

Nicholas Sparks

I have been reflecting on those that I have lost and whilst each occasion is difficult, it is even more challenging when special events and/or celebrations are nearing.  This is especially hard when so much emphasis is placed on family gatherings at Christmas and for also for those whose live away and/or have strained relationships.  This year and last year, we have had the added difficulty due to COVID19 restrictions and border closures, both within and outside Australia.

The first year of grief is difficult; their first birthday without them, your first birthday without them, the first Easter, Christmas and so on.  Then the major celebrations without your loved one; a wedding, a child being born into the family, the eighteenth birthday or twenty-first and other special dates.

The void of not having this special person around for these events and celebrations often tinges the festivities, even though you are happy for the occasion – a tear may leak out unexpectantly.  It also occurs on the major milestones of the person’s life, perhaps their special birthday and other meaningful dates on our calendar of life.

This happened to me this week as I attended a funeral for a friend’s parent.  We were at the graveside service, when I noted that I was standing in front of my friend’s gravesite.  My friend passed away just prior to his 21st birthday and after the service, I reflected that he has missed out on many of life’s special events and that his photo will always be young.  My husband and I discussed the many events the year after his death that I returned home for and that he was always missing from our special events, the birth of our children and major events such as weddings and other special occasions.  It has been many years since his death and whilst the loss has lessened over the years, it still is present at times.

This recent funeral also had me thinking of those who have passed over the years and the spaces that they have left in my heart.  Yes, the holes they left have grown over a little – yet I still feel the loss(es) and miss their company and contribution.  I am always grateful for who is at my celebrations but also miss those who are not present.

For those of you who are currently experiencing the loss of a family member or close friend – my thoughts are with you at this time.  May you enjoy Christmas (if you celebrate this) and also the New Year, despite your grief.