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Continued from... I still miss you

As I write, the tears start, even after all this time, these memories bring me back to those emotions. The sadness and heartbreak.

It was her time. I was ok with that, however it still hurt.

11 years on, it still hurts. But not as much.

At the time, with Christmas around the corner, that was a challenge! I did my best, to get back into ‘Santa is coming’ mode… but it was a bit like being on auto pilot.

11 years ago, and I remember it well.

Anniversaries tend to bring up memories of what happened at the time, we re-live all the poignant moments, it’s like as if they come up in our minds all by themselves.

And this is ok. It’s all normal.

Unfortunately, it’s one of those things that is hard to understand unless you’ve been there. And even then, it’s still a different experience for everyone.

Christmas makes the whole experience bigger, I think. I suppose we associate Christmas as a time for getting family together, spending time with one another, chatting, playing games, catching up and just sitting around watching films.

Most of us are already a bit (or a lot) more stressed as town is busier, we have things to organise and do, out of the ordinary tasks and appointments, etc.

It's very easy to slip into a metaphorical black hole and let everything that is normal-working-week-routine, fall by the wayside.

Here are some ideas, pointers to help you over the Christmas period;

•Keep things simple and plan ahead to avoid last minute stuff.

•Keep your meal time routine going, even if not very hungry, have a small meal at your usual times

•Have a good sleep routine; down time beforehand, no screen time in bed, no phone beside the bed, consider using essential oil in the bedroom, such as lavender.

•Make a plan of some social events; coffee with a friend, movie night with extended family, catch up with friends, lunch in a new restaurant.

•Get outside time, even if the weather is not great, go for a drive and have a little walk at a scenic spot, to make an afternoon of it.

•Get up and have a shower every day, this alone will make you feel better.

•Accept offers of invitations, visitors and offers to help carry out tasks that need doing.

And then, very importantly;

•How will you make time for your loved one?

•How will you include them in your festivities?

I have seen how people gather for an occasion and no one mentions the person who everyone is missing. It’s like no one wants to upset anyone else.

Everyone is upset anyway! Talk about your loved one, say their name, tell stories, give out, whatever – anything except silence!

Be brave in the face of grief. Say how you feel, even if you think it might be just you, even if you feel it might upset someone – as long as you say it from a place of love, you can own your words.

Silence is one of the biggest challenges on the journey of grief, at least in my experience.

Silence from you, in hiding how you feel, because you think no one wants to know, because you think you should be stronger, because you do not feel safe to share your emotions…

Silence from others in asking how you are, because they don’t want to upset you, because they don’t know what to say if you answer truthfully, because they feel there is nothing to ask…

So be brave to be vocal, to be emotional, be truthful…

My truth is, after 11 years, I still miss you, granny, I miss your company, your simple attitude to life, your love of cooking and baking, your honesty, our card games, our many, many conversations that went on for hours, always.

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