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You're Not Alone In Your Grief During The Holidays

So many of us are dealing with the loss of a loved one, a beloved pet or even the loss of a relationship.

It's always tough to navigate this grief but during the holidays, it seems to hit a specific nerve. I'm not sure if it's because of the memories that we experience or wishing that loved one was still here, but there is definitely something about celebrating Christmas that makes it difficult for so many who are living with grief. 

I once read that grief never goes away, it only changes. This resonated with me because although it's been a few years since my best friend of 20 years passed away from cancer, the grief remains. What I've experienced, and maybe you have too, is what I call "stacked grief". I'm not sure if that's an official term, but it makes sense to me. For me, stacked grief is when you're actively grieving a loss and another loss takes place. Then perhaps another loss, yet. This has been the case in my life the last three years. There have been quite a few but most recently it was my sweet little dog, Ellie. 

I knew it was time to show her mercy and provide an end to her suffering, but it was the hardest decision for me to make. She was my sidekick and stayed by my side, always. Watching your pets decline rapidly is a devastating experience. Taking her to the vet was an experience I would like to be able to forget one day, but for now it is close in my mind and I carry it with me. Last year, we had to put down our other sweet girl, Molly. These two had been with me for over 15 years and were truly a part of our family. My dogs are my children. They are not "pets" to me. They mean so much to my heart. They sleep with me, watch TV with me, eat with me and play with our family. They live every moment of life with us and because of this, losing one, albeit two, leaves a large void in their absence. 

I'm not sure why grief surfaces during the holidays in the way that it does, but I am sure that I am not alone in my pain. I know that so many others have lost loved ones and are mourning and grieving right now, in this very moment. There is a comfort in that. There is also comfort in knowing that my best friend, Jesus, mourns with me. I know that my pain is my Savior's pain and He longs to take my heavy burden upon Himself. He tells me that He will never leave me, nor forsake me. I was praying this verse over my youngest son recently and it struck me that while I want my children to remember this, I need to as well. 

I hope this verse provides some comfort for you as you enter into a busy holiday season. I hope you find joy in the small things. I hope you smile. I hope you feel compassion for those less fortunate and find a way to help someone in need. I hope you will always remember that God is never going to leave you. He goes before you and has made a way for you. The way may not always be easy, but I believe and trust that He has seen what I'm facing and is equipping me every step of the way.



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