Cherry blossoms above ripples in a pond.

Missing - The First Holiday Without Them

She combed her hair every morning not realizing I was watching.

It was short and thick, parted on the left side with gentle bangs caressing her forehead.

He always spilled part of his coffee into the saucer before drinking it. He said it helped to cool it down a bit. I watched as he sipped it carefully from the dish.

She loved to garden.

He sang around the house.

Both are gone now and we are left behind in the suffering, the emptiness of their passing.

If by some chance you have not lost anyone you love, you may not understand this. But you will one day. You will.

The holidays are here and their absence is like a crater in the middle of what would otherwise be a joy-filled time.

I call it "The year of firsts." The first birthday, picnic, anniversary, fair, holiday and even little things like the first song,

"She made the best banana nut bread."

"He played Santa Claus when I was a child and I didn't even know it was him."

Let's be honest. It stinks. It hurts. Everything reminds you of them and you start crying.

You don't want to celebrate. The world should just stop turning and let me off until...until I realize that the world doesn't stop turning.

I can clearly remember standing outside the funeral home where we held the viewing for my mother when a small marching band came down Wyoming Avenue right in front.

I was horrified. At 21 years of age I thought the world would just stop in its tracks because she died.

Life goes on. So do the holidays.

So, what do you do?

Acknowledge and accept that people around you will try everything in their power to "help" you through the holidays.

Some will be overbearing.

Some will stay away because they don't know what to do.

It's okay, not to participate. It's also okay if you do.

This is your time to heal, to recover, to be alone or to surround yourself with people.

People, both family and friends will say some of the most comforting things to you.

"You are in my prayers."

"If you need anything call any time."

They will also say some of the most insensitive things with good intentions.

"Hey, you're young. You'll find someone new." (I don't want someone new. I want him back)

"She's better off now. No pain or suffering." (She shouldn't have died in the first place. Dead isn't "better off.")

So, how do you handle the emptiness?

Fill it with memories. Make lists of all the little things they did that made the holidays special. Gather their recipes, photos, ornaments, and music. Make it your time to document what they really meant to you at this time of year.

Perhaps even create a scrapbook to share with family. Remember they are facing the loss, too. Your perspective will bring joy to them and help them to remember her/him in another way.

Rest. Take time to take care of your health.

Don't isolate yourself. Allow time to be with others.

Do things for others. Volunteer to honor your loved one.

Decide what things you will do the same and what things will change. Discuss it with family and include some of their suggestions.

Hang a stocking or place a jar on the table and ask visitors to put a slip of paper in it with a special memory they had.

Remember it is a holy season. Reflect on the true meaning of it and celebrate in that way.

Talk. Talk. Talk. It is important to express your sorrows, share your pain and a laugh that may be attributed to your loved one.

Decorate? If you want to, because they would want you to.

Or keep it simple by creating a special corner with a lighted candle in their memory. Be safe by using one of the many battery operated candles now available.

Bake their favorite cookies and share them. It will give you a chance to tell stories about them.

Gift giving will be a chore. Most will not expect anything from you. Perhaps small donations in his or her name on their behalf will help you, them and people you'll never know.

Pray. You may be angry at God, but remember that God created both of you. Everything you loved about them was a reflection of Him. If you found love in them you also found God.

He/she was a gift to you and will always be a part of who you are.

"To be remembered is to live forever."

"I'll see you in my prayers."

"I wish you enough!"
~ Bob Perks ~

Good news - Bob Perks' first book, "I Wish You Enough," Embracing Life's Most Valuable Moments... is now available for ordering. Here's the "Link" to get your copy of Bob's book: I Wish You Enough from
[ by: Bob Perks Copyright © 2011 ( -- {used with permission} ]

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