Monday, December 19, 2011

Grief and coping in the days leading up to Christmas x

In Australia we have some unique iridescent green beetles that magically appear around this time of year called Christmas Beetles. They seem to materialize out of nowhere…a lot like grief or feelings of longing do at this time of year.

And its funny, but last week, as Dempsey started to decorate our Christmas tree, one landed on her arm. She was mesmerized at its magnificent color, and that having a Christmas Beetle appear, must mean Christmas is almost here…

I do a lot of deep breathing this time of year….its not from over exercising, or meditating…’s the weight I feel inside my heart that our other daughter Savannah isn’t here to share this special time….along with mum or my sister Tarnia.

During the festive season, grief or challenges can make you feel isolated from others…..and that’s the reality. However, finding ways to look differently at what you do have, helps balance out those G moments!

Anyone who’s lost a family member, a friend, or a precious child feels that twinge of pain come and go. For me, it hovers around….makes me breathe in the big ones, as the days get busy with Christmassy things.

Different moments, like watching Dempsey hang her sister’s sparkling ‘S’ on our tree trigger the pangs, and I know that’s normal to feel this way….as long as the sad moments pass….and I can be thankful too…to notice the little moments that foster happiness and help the hurt to heal.

And as all things Christmas invade our life in the past week, there are many twinkling, fleeting, flashes of happiness that prevail over the sad bits in the lead up to the big day…..when Santa sprinkles the good stuff around.

And I’ve had plenty of good, great and grateful stuff mixed in….one was the adventure to pick out our tree.

Peter, Dempsey and me drove to a Christmas tree farm, with the help of directions from my brother in law Tone. Out into the country and down a dusty bush track to a plantation of them in fact.

And as I happily watched Dempsey stomp through the bushes, umming and ahhing over which tree, then picking out the prettiest one….like only a female can…a butterfly appeared.....somewhat out of nowhere...and landed on the tree Demps had chosen.

I had to smile….I like to think it was Savannah, approving of her sisters choice! :)

We also had a local church Christmas fete that was filled with fun stuff….all free in the spirit of Christmas…..I hope this photo makes you smile as it did me….watching my little daughter, draw in a deep breathe, and bravely jump into the we all have to sometimes.....

You really need to do what works for you this time of year. Whether it’s wasting time doing nothing but sleeping, or turning on an answering machine to get some peace….whether it’s over indulging in chocolate…or finding some serenity in some simple moments, seeing the beauty in being alive that helps.

I’ve had quite a few of those too with our family of swans that park up each night right at sunset, waiting patiently to be fed stale bread by Dempsey.

Having friends and family around this year will be like an invisible barricade of strength for me. 

I know they love me, scars and all.   And that helps me survive those sad moments that lie just under my eyelids and inside my heart.

The presents don’t matter to me anymore…just the love, the hugs, the hello’s, the sound of Bing Crosby’s Christmas Carols quietly playing….and getting to see Christmas through my child’s eye’s is what gets me through.

I’ll think of the many others around the world who are missing their loved ones, they also help remind me I’m not the only one missing someone.....

Yes, small steps, big breathes, appreciation and love will be inside my stocking this year....along with happiness.  I'll have the privilege of telling those I care about, just how special they make my Christmas and how they fill my blue christmas cup with sunshine!

Silent night,
Holy night,
All is calm……all is bright…..  x


  1. What a beautiful butterfly...a definite sign of Savannah, I think! Merry Christmas Diana! Love to you and your family!!

  2. Merry Christmas to you too lovely Candice!
    Thanks for stopping by....enjoy your first xmas with your precious Macy and your gorgeous boy!

    We'll be back in L.A real soon!

    Diana x

  3. Thank you for this post, Diana! Wishing you a very merry Christmas and a wonderful new year!

  4. Thanks LK for the well wishes!

    Merry Christmas back to you. Thanks for stopping by.

    with love
    Diana x

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