Light in the darkness...

Winter is a difficult time for many people and for most of us on this site it isn’t helped by the intrusion of Christmas with its brashness, forced jollity and stark reminders of our losses. But the real meaning of Christmas is actually one of hope…of light penetrating the darkness and guiding us to eventual peace. It is a hard fought struggle which sometimes seems to stretch into eternity but , always, it has its foundation in love and all of us here carries our own particular love with us forever.
I hope that each and everyone on this site will feel some hope and love this Christmas and that we will manage to show our love to others too .
Seasons blessings to all x

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Hi. AG. A beautiful post. Yes indeed! It is a hard time for us all. Christmas reminds us of so much we would rather forget. It stirs unwanted memories.
You are so right about the forced jollity. So many families only get together at Christmas and are forgotten for the rest of the year. It’s almost as if everyone feels an obligation to give and feel happy. If we could carry that Christmas spirit through the rest of the year it would be so good. Sorry to sound cynical but the whole meaning of Christmas has been mainly lost. I have said before, that ancient people regarded it as a time of renewal, rebirth. Two thousand years ago the coming of Christ should have begun a new age. An awakening of mankind to love and understanding. Not just at Christmas but all the time. Alas, it has not happened. You know how I feel about the light. It does penetrate the darkness and is always there. Most of us are so taken up with pain and grief it’s so difficult to see it. I too hope we may all feel that love from each other and give as we receive. Love travels well and hand in hand with hope can help change us. But even if our love is not returned it doesn’t matter. We gave it and that’s all that matters.
I do hope you have a peaceful Christmas, well as peaceful as you can.
Love and Blessings. XX

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Hi there to the two of you and what a lovely topic to have been brought to light (excuse the pun).
I have said for many years that the true meaning of Christmas seems to have been lost along the way and the sheer greed of the occasion sickens me. It seems to have become a time to eat and drink ourselves silly and how many children really know what Christmas means. I did not come from a religious family (except for an Aunt) but I was still taught the meaning of that special day, of being with family that you love. As children we didn’t demand expensive presents that our parents couldn’t afford, in fact we had very little compared to the children of today but we was happy to share the day with our loved ones. My husband refused to buy his grandchildren any presents after he watched them repeatedly pull of the wrapping and then throw the present to one side so that they could greedily grab another one. Never did he receive a thankyou. So he started sending vouchers and left it at that. No, I am afraid that I am sadly disillusioned. Can someone tell me why people are stocking up with food weeks before the day. It’s one day with Supermarkets closed (small local shops still open) Have I become a Grinch…
Love to you both
Pat xxxx

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Jonathan as Usual you have hit the nail on the head. Yes I agree wouldn’t it be nice if the Christmas spirit could continue. I love the carol singing and the lovely windows with the pretty lights etc. But as soon as that one day is over it’s back to normal. With many young parents in debt for a year before it all starts again.
I think this forum has proven that there is love and understanding out there but do we see it that often in everyday attitudes.
A local elderly man has recently lost his wife and I have been to see him but I asked a neighbour of his if he was alright and her reply was “I don’t know, I don’t like the man very much, so I don’t bother with him”. I pointed out that he had lost his wife of over fifty years and surely a kind word wouldn’t hurt her. But she was adamant that she was not going to speak to him. Even if he is unpleasant it would be an ideal time to show some compassion. I don’t have a problem with him.
A few years ago a member of a group we are with was taken ill and in hospital. We didn’t like her, she was a troublemaker and not to be trusted. Brian kind as ever offered our services to do her garden for her and made it nice for her to come home to. She did ring us and say that she had never met such kind people, however a couple of months later she was back to her old unpleasant self and we was on her hit list again, with no idea why. But since Brian died she has always spoken to me and been pleasant. I still don’t trust her but I do not regret that Brian and I helped her when she needed support and that now she and I are sociable towards each other. Your so right in what you say. Love travels.
Pat xxxx

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Dear Jonathan - your posts always uplift me . I have been dreading Christmas without my husband and am constantly swinging between doing what he would have wanted and trying to ignore it completely . Your message today is steering me towards looking more to the light of Christmas and the meaning of that light . I miss him with all my heart and it will be so different and no doubt there will be tears . But as the Christmas light shines brightly - do does his love for me and our two wonderful children . I well up just at the thought of a Christmas Day without him - he was our joker, our expert cook and the one who probably enjoyed Christmas the most . He always gave to the Salvation Army as he believed they were really there to help those less fortunate . I will donate in his place and be thankful for my warm home, the food in the cupboard, our children and the 39 Christmas days we did spend together - and the first ever Christmas when we returned to our parents and wrote each other passionate love letters because of our forced separation . I may even put a Christmas tree up . I hope everyone on here manages to find a way to survive the season and find a little bit of peace and a ray of light xx

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Hi Trisha, Beautifully written as usual, straight from the heart. Such wonderful memories of a lovely man. It will be hard but do him proud as he loved Christmas so much. Let him see that you are remembering him. Cook that Christmas dinner even if it’s not as good as he would have done. Your right we do have so much to be thankful for in our warm homes and food. So many are without.
Go and get that tree and decorate it as your husband would have wanted. I do ours because Brian loved putting up all the lights around the window and on the tree. He wasn’t particularly Christmassy but he did like doing this. I have for the first time put lights outside on a bush and across my window so that Brian will know that I am thinking of him. I did the tree yesterday and if I say so myself it’s not bad. That is what Christmas is about, love, and our loved ones will be remembered on that day and be with us in spirit, never to be forgotten.
Love Pat xxx

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Oh my goodness you guys!!! Your posts really get to the heart strings. Why is it that we have to got through this pain to meet such lovely people as yourselves? I knew there were kind folk around, but this site has opened a new meaning of kindness and understanding. It’s all about love, isn’t it?
The unconditional kind. We don’t expect anything from each other, but understanding and that we get in abundance.
The Christmas light does shine brightly, but even if it’s a bad time for most of us the spirit of it can remain in our hearts. That’s where our loved ones are. Not out there in the world of such superficial things, but in our hearts, and nothing can ever change that. The world and all its ‘baubles’ can never replace what we have lost. But there is the light and with it goes hope. Even the faintest glimmer can be encouraging. But it won’t come to us. We need to seek it out. Once we find that wonderful light of Spiritual love then we can begin the upward journey. So elusive is that light. Sometimes distant or sometimes close but always there. Bless everyone. It’s a bit early for Christmas greetings, but I’m sure we will all be here to wish each other well. XX

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Oh so true Jonathan. In our time of pain and confusion we are ‘meeting’ people that are there to help. Yes as usual you are so right the faintest light can offer us encouragement and we do have to go out there and seek it out.
Today I am feeling particularly pleased with myself. Last night the local church had a local brass concert band playing carols and I had seen it advertised but forgotten about it, however thankfully I had put the date in my diary and last night I ran down the road and walked into that church to join in. I immediately bumped into a fellow dog walker and she asked me if I would like to sit with her. It was a lovely evening of Carols and the band playing Christmas songs. Mince pies and cups of tea/coffee. The true meaning of Christmas and I was actually able to join in even though I have been avoiding anything of this sort for a year. Perhaps this is nothing special to some people but for me it was a step forward and Brian used to play in a local marching band and a jazz band as well as being a country and western singer so I know he would have approved.
This morning I went to Zhumba dancing and was invited to go along with a woman to another class. So I now feel as if I am slowly joining the land of the living again. Yes, I am pleased with myself. What I will feel like tomorrow is anyone’s guess but for now I’m satisfied even if I did get soaked this morning.
Bless you all
Pat xxx

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WOW!!! Pat, now that’s good to hear. You are surely moving on. Never mind tomorrow. It never comes anyway. So often we have to make ourselves move. Inertia can easily become a habit. We may say, ‘it’s not good weather’, or ‘I just don’t feel up to it’. But if we are to make progress we must stop making excuses for ourselves. Now this very much depends on how long since we had our loss. In the early stages doing anything is nigh impossible. We still need to take our time and take it easy. But those of us who are moving on must keep up the good work and try and encourage those who find it difficult.
Mince pies tea and coffee!!! Well if heaven is kind that’s how it will be, together with some Baileys and cream cake. Hmmmm!!! Blessings and hugs. XX

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Now I said nothing about Baileys and cream cakes, you are letting your imagination run wild. What carol service do you go to that has Baileys and cream cakes!!!
Seriously I do agree with you. I have made so many excuses recently for not doing things, preferring to stay in my comfort zone, running away from group activities. But I reasoned that it’s no use feeling sorry for myself and if I want change then I have to do something about it, no one else is going to do it for us, it has to come from within. I have planned so many times to do something, even to simply going into town to do the shopping and put it off for days It took me three tries to do the Zhumba class and then I walked in and tried to turn and run but the instructor caught me. How pleased I am that she did. I enjoy my jump about now. Yes we must try to encourage others to make those hard moves. One day I hope to be able to say that times does heal to a certain degree, but not at the moment. I do get encouragement from meeting people that are further on in their loss of their loved ones and seem to be living comfortably with acceptance although I know that they never forget. They give me hope that it is possible.
Love Pat xxxx

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Hi Pat - well done on the carol service - sounds wonderful. And there is such unity among dog walkers. It is hard and for every couple of steps forward we take a sideways step - but it is progress and as you say Brian would have approved. Musicians always approve of fellow musicians and as they know what goes into each performance. xx

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Hi. Pat. Well if it’s not possible to find a carol service that gives Baileys and cream cakes after then I will start one. All welcome. You must forgive my vivid imagination. It does go a bit wild at times.
Yes, it’s all about effort. Now it’s not easy when we feel so tired because this grieving business is very tiring. But I believe that if we don’t make the effort then we are close to giving up. I would say you are doing amazingly well. You and I seem to be going along a similar path. Like you I do go out but still find socializing difficult. It goes to show what a lot of rubbish people talk when they say ‘give it a year and you will be fine’. Well it’s more than a year and it’s not fine. Better, yes, a little, but I realise more than ever what a difficult and lonely path this is. Full of bumps and potholes. We walk along thinking it’s getting better then we trip over a hole and down we go. If this up and down effect would go it would be helpful.
Take care. Blessings. Love. xx

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So true Jonathan, I seem to be tripping up quite often but I think there are some good days showing through the gloom. I’m ready to try from time to time.
Today I visited a new type of cafe that is opening across the country. Here we have one near us and I was pleasantly surprised. Just people chatting about their experiences about grief, just as we do on the forum (I have posted a description elsewhere) Walk in and out as you wish, very casual. I will be going to the next one. I looked it up on the internet and they are looking for volunteers in all area’s. I would never have been able to walk in there a few months ago but today I enjoyed participating and didn’t feel out of place.

Go on I dare you to start a Baileys and cream cakes carol service. No Baileys for me but I fancy the cream cake!!!
At Brian’s funeral one of his cousins who had lost his wife the previous year told me that it was still hard for him. I never expected that I would also still be finding it hard a year on. Brian and I went to her funeral and a year later we was at Brian’s. I still maintain that life is precious
Pat xxxx

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Good for you, Pat. I know that you will still have a long way to go, you are making progress.

Well done

MaryL x x x x

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