Sunday, 24 December 2017

When you're grieving at Christmas


Yes, it has been a while...for good reason this time.  I still intend on catching you up on the last few months, but today's not that day.  In brief though, as at last Weigh In Wednesday (today's Saturday), I've lost 19.3kg since resetting on the 1st July.  The way I've been eating
this week will probably make next Wednesday's weigh in go in the 'wrong' direction, but let's talk about that later.

I'm super proud of the 19.3kg, and while it's taken almost 6 months, that does not bother me at all.  The learning's and changes I've made in these months are worth their 'weight' in gold.  My blog topic list still stands, don't you worry, and I will fill in the gaps.

But, as the title of this post says, this one is not focused on battling chocolate or sharing my meal prep.  (Although both of those things have gone out the window this week!)

As the title suggests, I feel the need to write about grief at Christmas time.

Before I go on; just for the record, I am not qualified in anything about this topic.  I'm not a psychologist, psychiatrist, counsellor, doctor or medical practitioner of any kind, and I don't have the answers.  For anyone needing grief or any type of counselling, please contact a crisis organisation in your area.  In Australia, we have Lifeline: and many others.  I just googled "international crisis contacts" and a whole range came up, including a few sites that list numbers to call in a whole array of countries.  I don't want to miss any countries out, so instead of directing you somewhere, I ask that you google it.  If you can access my blog, I imagine you can access Google.  This post is not a "how to cope" guide, or anything along those lines, and I am not a professional in this area.  I hope I have made that clear.  If you need help, please reach out, as there ARE people who can help.

This post is simply about me chatting about how I am feeling.  Maybe some people will be able to relate.  I imagine many of you will.

It's a little bit off topic for me, in a way.  But while my predominant content is all about weight loss and fitness gain and everything that comes with those things, I'm very much human, and I do have a lot more things in my life other than trying to lose weight. :)

When I was 9, my Dad gave me my first diary.  I wrote it in most days, and I continued until
my early 20's.  My diaries from the ages of 9 to 11 were very much factual, about what I did each day, like record keeping.  I traveled a lot during those 2 years, so they were kind of the style of travel journals - what happened.  Some days were simply "Today we played."  It was pretty deep.


When I hit 12 though, the writing style changed, and wow, now those diaries are hot property.  They started with entries titled "My first bra" and "The first time I shaved my legs" and went on from there.  I found I mainly wrote when I was really emotional, in whichever end of the glorious human emotion spectrum I was in.  I overcame a lot of hurdles in my early 20's, and as such, my writing settled down, as I guess my need to, also diminished.

I feel that's quite like my blog - I find writing really therapeutic: when I feel the desire to.

And going by the title of this post, it's pretty clear that the desire is, sadly, there.

Yes, I'm grieving, and yes, it's Christmas.

And it's really hard.  

I know I'm not the only one to ever go through grief at Christmas time, and certainly not the only one who's going through it this year.  You'd perhaps think that knowing this would be some strange comfort, in that I'm not alone.  However it's one of the rare things in life that you wish you were alone in: I wouldn't wish grief on anyone.  It makes me even more sad to think of how many others are having the worst time right now.

Grief or sadness at any time of year is hard, but why is it that Christmas seems to make it more heightened, or more unwanted?  Is it the expectation of tradition that Christmas is supposed to be a happy time?  Is it that we miss our loved ones more on special occasions?  I've always declared Christmas Day as my favourite day of the year.  But I have to question myself on this at the moment.

Christmas carols lyrics such as:

"'Tis the season to be jolly"
"What a bright time, it's the right time, to rock the night away"
"It’s the most wonderful time of the year"

jump out at me more than ever, ringing through my ears for hours after hearing them played in Coles.  Is it pressure?  Or is it just a reminder of Christmas's where I have been overwhelmingly happy, and I'm reminded that I'm not so much this year?

One of my relatives passed away a few weeks ago, and this week I lost a really close friend in a really devastating, confusing way.  I was doing pretty well - actually very well, but there's no rules on grief, and I was starkly reminded of this on Thursday.

I'm trying so hard to focus on the blessings in my life.  This is certainly not hard.  I am completely blessed, and tonight (it's just clocked over to Christmas Eve as I type this) and tomorrow I am going to be under the same roof as my entire immediate family for the first time in two years.  Part of my immediate family are 5 kids under 5, who are my world.  They are so precious and one of two Miss Five's melted my heart today when she showed me how she's practicing how to sleep while Santa visits.  My family love me and support me and I cannot begin to describe how blessed that I know I am.

And that's just for a start.

But grief seems to be able to overtake or skew the view of even the greatest of blessings that we have.

Grief doesn't just come from loss.  My heart is breaking for friends of mine who have very recently separated and are facing their first Christmas as a broken family.  For an older friend who when I asked what she's doing on Christmas Day, she said "nothing" (because her friends are doing other things and she doesn't have any close family).  For a few close people to me who have just been diagnosed with cancer.  For multiple friends who are struggling to conceive.  For a dear friend whose 3 year old daughter is going through chemo.

Cruel things happen all year round but Christmas time it just seems to enhance the pain of it, and I can't pinpoint why.

I've found it hard to find the Christmas spirit for the last few years.  I surprised myself by 'finding' it a couple of weeks ago.  But events since then have shook that up a lot.

One thing that is helping is to 'give'.  For me it's been in the form of an unplanned over-surge in my Christmas shopping.  I'm not materialistic and of course I know that there's so many kind ways we can give (give back).  But with my focus out the window right now, buying far and wide just happened to occur.  My bank balance may not agree, but it's made me feel good as I've bought and wrapped.

As I said earlier, this post is not about advice, rather than just sharing how I'm doing at the moment.  And that makes me realise another thing that's helping me - writing.

My eating has gone out the window; I haven't cared about what I've been putting in my mouth (hence why I said I'm sure that the scales will go in the wrong direction next week.  But I haven't cared - it's been like "whatever".  I'm sure I'll pull myself out of it and start making smarter choices, but I'm not about to put any pressure on, especially on Christmas Eve!

I really thought I was going somewhere with this post...but it appears not.  I think I thought that writing it out will help me gain perspective or...something.  But I guess it's more of a chatty post, with no resolution or advice or direction.  Just "blurgh": this is how it is.

What I will say is that if you too are grieving, then please know that I'm thinking of you and am sending you my love.  If you need to, please contact an organisation in your area, or call a friend or family member.  I've been (unusually) very open with my family, and I'm sure they'll cut me some slack if I'm not myself tomorrow.  We can get very good at hiding things,
but sometimes it's a relief to just open up and know that it's okay to not be okay.  Maybe some of the things that have helped me (trying to focus on my blessings, giving to others, writing, and looking towards the new year) may help you think of ideas for yourself.

And if you're just feeling sad, that's okay.  Never deny yourself feelings of any kind.  Sometimes we know that we are blessed but it still hurts.  Appreciating what we have doesn't mean you can't feel what you need to feel.  Let's get through this day as best as we can, and make allowances for ourselves.  The Christmas spirit is still there, and while we may not be feeling it as much this year, I pray that it comforts you in some way.

I know what I said before about Christmas carol lyrics, but there is one that I want to share with you.  It's a carol called "The Christmas Hope", and a snippet of the lyrics are below.

No matter what your circumstances are, whether you're grieving, feeling sad, are alone, or if things aren't going as you thought they would, I hope these words comfort you and give you a sprinkle of hope tomorrow.

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones, whether they're with you tomorrow or not xoxo

"Hope is a present
A gift freely given
To all who receive
And open their hearts
Hope is a promise
For a better tomorrow
In a world filled with sorrow
We always have hope"

(The Christmas Hope)

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