The 10 Things I Wish I Knew About The Holidays After Loss

December 7, 2018 | IN CHRISTINA'S BLOG/POSTS | BY christina

I started this letter at a time when nobody was writing about grief, or even about grief and the Holidays.

And those who were, were not discussing the elephant in the room.

The loneliness.

The deep sadness of the Holidays.

You see, happy seasons, are the saddest seasons for people who are grieving.

Even the sun shining brightly in the winter, can feel like loss.

Even bells ringing.

Carols.

People with gift bags walking down the streets can set you off.

The triggers are so many.

I put together a small list that can help just a little during the next few weeks.

1- Make this the most untraditional holiday you have ever had. If you normally celebrate with the tree, the big dinner and the works, try something completely different this year. Go to the beach instead, or stay in bed all day if you need to. Choose your way of the holidays and don’t feel guilty. This is YOUR life.

2- Speak the truth every day. Let it out. Scream it if you have to. It is YOUR voice.

3- Make a wish, but don’t stop there! Take one small action and use the Holiday season to begin something new. To make that wish come true. That is when you will start seeing the impossible become possible. Time does not heal all wounds, action does.

4- Change something inside your house. Even something that nobody else can see but you.

5- If you get invited to dinner and you don’t feel like going, say NO thank you and go and do whatever you want. Yes, whatever you want.

6- Stop buying gifts for people you don’t care about. As a matter of fact if you don’t feel like buying gifts don’t buy them. Don’t be trapped in that fake polite space after loss. You don’t need this pressure. Free yourself from the gift expectations and send an email to the people in your life telling them that you are going to do holidays your way this year.

7- Remember, it is just a few days of craziness and you have survived much worse, you can do this.

8- Buy something for yourself that is very unlike you. Building your new identity can start as a holiday gift to you.

9- Above all find a moment to say a prayer for yourself.

10- And in that prayer ask for what you need not just for the holidays but for every day after that.

This holiday season be true to you.

Even if it means people won’t like you anymore.

You have been through really hard times, who cares what they think.

I am not the most popular person, I don’t pretend to like people, or visit with anyone I don’t really want to see.

Loss has taught us that life is short and we should not be wasting trying to please other people when we are dying inside.

The Holidays for those who are grieving is like feeling the regular pain you normally feel times 100. (Click Here to Tweet!)

Treat yourself to special things, and if it means your special thing is the Hallmark channel, then let that be your companion during this time of the year.

You get to say how it goes, it is hard enough as it is.

With selfish wishes,

Christina

PS.WHERE DID YOU GO is nearly here. I can’t believe it.

AMAZON LINK: https://www.amazon.com/Where-Did-You-Go-Life-Changing/dp/0062689622/

PPS.This is where you can find this letter on the blog

I find daily life that is made of anything but meaning, pointless.

Books that deal with drama, uninteresting.

Gatherings that have superficial conversations, waste of time.

And at this juncture I always add, especially for those of us who have endured loss.

The time we spend in the nothingness of routine can actually put us in depression.

Maybe one of the reasons the holiday season is hard for us is because of the meaningless hours we spend sitting together with people who choose to interact superficially.

Avoiding eye contact. Feelings.

But stay in discussions on politics, celebrity gossip, things that have no life in them.

And there you are, across the room, with heart full of meaning and emotion listening to them, wanting to scream and run out the door.

It may feel as if everyone is asleep while you have no choice but to be awake.

It can feel as if language is made of constant noise.

And this is why I will not say have a happy Thanksgiving.

I will though say have a meaningful one.

Seek a real conversation with someone today. Whether it’s on text. In person. At dinner. With your pet. With a character on television. An imaginary one. With yourself. (Click Here to Tweet!)

Write about what matters to you in a journal if you are alone.

Watch a movie that moves you.

Shut down anything that is out of alignment.

Just give thanks to the moments that are made of truth.

Even if it is truth that hurts.

Meaningless noise doesn’t remove pain, it adds to it.

An invitation to a Thanksgiving dinner made of small talk can break you.

Instead just say thanks to anyone who looks you in the eyes today.

Even if it is a stranger at the coffee shop.

Another person sitting in the car next to yours.

You see, you are not alone in your quest for meaning today, millions of people feel more alone today than any other day.

Let’s change that, together.

With hope,

Christina

PS. 27 days until Where Did You Go is in all of our lives.

AMAZON LINK: https://www.amazon.com/Where-Did-You-Go-Life-Changing/dp/0062689622/

Forgive me for lately, I have been seeking the unseekable.

The unseen.

The very hard to find.

Seeking the answers to the bigger questions.

Sometimes I get mad with the world.

How dare we not ask these questions.

How dare we close our eyes and go to sleep without wanting to know.

Why are we made this way?

Who made us?

Where were we before we were here?

And where the heck are we going after?

Why do we think the same darn thoughts every morning?

Where do we go when we are asleep?

What is the energy that surrounds us?

Why is earth hanging in the middle of darkness, infinite darkness?

Why is it that people can remember past lives?

Why do people who come back after they have died talk about joy, bliss, and knowing.

Where is that place?

What happens after we are gone from here?

Why do we spend our lives gossiping about silly things in the news instead of seeking to find ourselves?

Did you know there is evidence to suggest that our world is a projection from a different reality.

And as I am writing this, I am thinking about you, my beloved reader.

Will you dismiss this?

Will you not bother reading the rest of the letter?

But this is the chance I have to take.

What if death is not real in the other dimensions that exist beyond this one?

And don’t ever think that this is the only dimension. It isn’t.

Everything you are, think, believe, understand is connected to a reality you can’t see.

When unexplained things happen, it is not that we can’t explain them.  We just can’t explain them within the parameters of this reality. (Click Here to Tweet!)

But they can be explained if we look at our experience from the holographic model.

It implies that what we see around us is an illusion, a projection coming to us from a different place.

Where is that place?

You see, when we find our way to that place, there will be more understanding.

It is possible that objective reality is a creation of the human brain.

The brain analyzes the frequency and energy we are surrounded by, giving us a simple projection from that analysis.

Why am I talking about this?

Isn’t one reality enough for us to get through.

Aren’t we broken enough, hurt enough from just this?

Why even go there, and ask these questions.

But what if what lies beyond this, makes everything less heartbreaking?

What if the reality we cannot see has in it everyone we lost?

That we are never without them.

With footsteps on the edge of life,

Christina

PS. Pre-order Where Did You Go: https://www.amazon.com/Where-Did-You-Go-Life-Changing/dp/0062689622

Maybe I will stay inside the ups and downs.

The highs and lows.

After all, the roller coaster makes you a good writer.

Did you know?

It makes you brave.

It makes your hair look crazy too. 🙂

Your heart beats as if there are two hearts inside of you.

You don’t have time for any kind of small talk.

And you hold on tight.

No drama.

Just lots of back and forth between low and high.

Between grief and love.

Yes and no.

Risk and safety.

But that is when so many people leave the roller coaster.

They are done with it all.

The highs are not worth the lows.

Love is not worth the grief.

Having two heartbeats instead of one takes its toll.

But for those of us who stay, find themselves in the most beautiful skies.

Flying in and out of clouds.

Breathing in the crisp air.

And yes finding ourselves inside the very low places too.

When there, we check in with our soul.

Learn. Process. Feel. And write.

Oh the writing from the lows is magnificent.

I am writing you from there today.

Just experienced rejection back to back.

Basically double low.

Low. Low.

Loss. Loss.

Rejection. Rejection.

When the roller coaster stays down low for longer than normal the heartbeats also slow down, almost as if they are gone.

You find yourself inside the low but also inside the silence.

And when there is only one low and not a double one, the silence doesn’t have time to arrive. Inside the silence you have a chance to find yourself.

You see, you can’t find yourself inside the highs. It’s too wild.

Your mind is too busy thinking about the greatness of the high.

Everyone is cheering you.

And you may even forget your humility. Your mortality.

And your high risk of loss.

Who would I ever be without my roller coaster?

Certainly not a writer.

Not a helper.

I think I would have good hair though. 🙂

And I would fit in.

Fitting in is not part of our life after loss. Tragedy makes us stand out, whether we like it or not. (Click Here to Tweet!)

With love to all of my roller coaster riders,

Christina

P.S. Registration for the 2019 Life Reentry Practitioner training is now open: https://lifereentry.com/life-reentry-practitioner-program-home/

I have been writing to you for 4 years and I have never written about what to do with the anniversaries of

loss.

A wonderful woman reached out to me yesterday and asked me if I would write about this.

So here it goes.

Anniversaries of loss feel like a big train approaching the platform.

Heavy, noisy. Old. Loud.

And you can hear it coming for a while.

You know it’s arriving at a specific time, on schedule.

And you are supposed to get on it.

Ride that train for the day.

Ride its heaviness.

This train is slow.

It takes forever to get to the destination of tomorrow.

But you feel there is no other way to get to the next day but ride the train of the anniversary of your loss.

It is not a birthday.

It is simply a death day.

I am so very sorry to call it with its own name.

I remember riding that train during the first few anniversaries.

Honestly I was nauseous.

Everything came back.

The ICU.

The last tragic days.

The oxygen masks.

My little girls saying goodbye to their dad.

I mean.. talk about torture.

Bring out the knives.

That anniversary train was not fun.

It was all about the death day.

And not about the man I was in love with away from the hospital beds, the morphine and the pain.

It had nothing to do with honoring him.

Nothing at all.

I was honoring death every time I took the anniversary train.

So 2 anniversaries later the train was approaching…my date is July 21st.

And I am standing at the platform.

I can hear it arriving. Heavy, loud. Slow.

And all the death memories were flashing before my eyes even before my boarding.

I had to ask myself is this what I have to go through every single year and is this remembering him?

The answer was a big loud NO.Louder than the train.

I left the platform and ran.

Ran away from the anniversary train.

Where did I go instead?

I went to the beach.

I went to the places we visited.

I talked about him to people who never knew him.

I smiled when I said his name.

Yes it is sad.

Yes there are tears.

Yes it sucks.

I am sorry there is no way around this.

Your heart will fill heavy.

But don’t get on the death day train.

Run away and find the sky, the moon, the sea.

The memories. The journey. The celebration.

On his birthday we would go and sing to his grave.

We would bring breakfast and sit there and sing, and the girls would dance.

They would say. Are you 1, are you 2, are you 3 are you 4…. All the way to his new age.

In a few days he would have been 43, and then in a few days after that he would be gone for 8 years.

The train does not visit me anymore.

There is nobody waiting on the platform.

From where I am standing those anniversaries are excuses to celebrate the life of the man who is the father

of my kids.

The man who taught me how to be a warrior through his 4 year battle with the beastpeople call cancer.

The man who showed me how much he loved life and how much he did not want to say goodbye to his

kids.

Yes its sad, and unfair and not what happens to most 35 year olds but that stream of thought takes me

back to the train.

And that is not where he would want me to be.

He said to me once. “Christina look at the big picture. The first couple of years will be tough but after that

you have to make sure you get to live.”

If he knew about the anniversary train, he would smile and shake his head and say it is not where I live.

It is not where my legacy is.

My legacy is inside of you.

And in the lives of my girls.

Go. Go. Go. Remember me, but don’t get on that train.

I am going to ask you the same.

Don’t get on that train, it doesn’t really go anywhere and:

Healing only lives in celebrating the lives of the ones we have lost, not how they died. (Click to Tweet!)

With love,

Christina

P.S If you are a therapist, social worker, coach, nurse, pastor, divorce attorney, biz leader who cares,

doctor, oncologist, hospice volunteer, medical field leader and in a profession that serves the people who

are suffering from loss, a medical diagnosis, tragedy of any kind, join me for a live video webinar about the

Life Reentry Practitioner training on November 6th here: https://lifereentry.com/life-reentry-

practitioner-webinar/

I moved from Greece to England when I was 18 years old.

My english was ok but certainly not fluent in writing or speaking.

And I was attempting to get into college.

It took me three years to pass the exams and get language fluency.

And because of that everyone else in my classes, in my dorms and in my everyday college experience were 3 years younger than me.

I used to hide my age.

When everyone was turning 21 I was turning 24.

I was always 3 years late.

Also, always older than all the boys I knew.

And no matter what I did, how hard I worked that ‘3 year later than everyone else’ feeling was always there.

Then for a few years that feeling was gone, I had moved to the US, started my own family and things started to feel ‘normal.’

Then he was diagnosed with late stage cancer and died, and I lost a whole decade.

I nearly lost all of my 30s.

I was 30 when he was diagnosed.

We battled the cancer every day for years.

I was 34 when he died.

And I battled devastating grief for years.

38 when I started to get back on my feet again.

This woman had never been here before.

I believed for the first time that I could be a builder, a founder, an author, someone who had something to say to the world.

But that old voice in my head came back running.

But aren’t you really behind?

Like at least 10 years too late for anything of this magnitude.

You are about to be 40 soon and you want to start from scratch?

Yes I do.

The faint voice of the new woman would say.

No you don’t.

The loud speaker kind of voice would respond back.

And it went like this for the first few years.

The battle of the voices.

I have been quieting the voice of ‘you are late to the party’ for most of my life now.

I am now 46 years old and I finally learned something that I did not know my whole life.

And it’s not it is never too late.

But it is arrive late, and leave early.

In the last 8 years I have lived many lives in one.

I have done work that it takes people lifetimes to do.

And I know that if I was not late to the party I could have never ever become this version of me.

Now I look at my life very differently.

As long as my hands can type, my eyes can see and my brain can guide me I will be creating until I die.

Later than everyone else.

Behind.

With a language that arrived in my life also late.

But I will always have an advantage, I experienced tragedy sooner than everyone else.

And received the wisdom of it at least a decade or two before most people.

The combination of being late with wisdom that comes from tragedy you can almost step outside of time and space and create from there.

Time is irrelevant to people like you and I. However late to the party you feel, know that the wisdom you have because of your loss adds time to your clock. (Click Here to Tweet!)

Infinite amounts.

You are early.

And always will be.

Here’s to creating until our last breath.

With being very late and proud of it,

Christina

P.S If you are a therapist, social worker, coach, nurse, pastor, divorce attorney, biz leader who cares, doctor, oncologist, hospice volunteer, medical field leader and in a profession that serves the people who are suffering from loss, a medical diagnosis, tragedy of any kind, join me for a live video webinar about the Life Reentry Practitioner training on November 6th here: https://lifereentry.com/life-reentry-practitioner-webinar/

What if you can talk to your child.

Your husband.

Your wife.

Your father.

Your mother.

Your friend, even after their passing.

What if that’s what we are supposed to do.

What if they want us to do that.

What if they can hear us.

What if they can talk to us?

But not unless we are willing to believe that it is possible.

You see they want us to talk to them.

Visit with them.

Our world is hesitant to deeply believe it.

But I am asking you to.

My new book will be asking you to.

I am also going to ask that you also send them signs instead of just them sending signs to you.

I know right? People always ask have you had any signs?

What about. Have you sent signs to them?

When was the last time you spoke to them?

We got a new puppy last week, and my daughter and I went to pick out a new collar for her at the pet store.

As we were at the collar isle, a store employee came over to ask us if we needed help.

And do you know what his name tag said?

My husband’s name.

Which is very rare as he was Danish.

Bjarne.

We hadn’t come across his name in 12 years and there it was as we were about to go pick up the new puppy.

Look for your person, they are always there trying to get your attention.

And don’t forget to signal back to them.

Love travels outside of the physical barriers of our reality. It is a part of a bigger universe than the one we can see. (Click Here to Tweet!)

And if you want to see the people you lost…close your eyes.

With signs and eyes closed,

Christina

P.S. Pre-order Where Did You Go here: www.wheredidyougobook.com

I was taken aback.

Stopped in my tracks.

I was about to climb again just like I normally do every day.

And that’s when I saw it.

The summit.

The top of my mountain.

I froze.

I sat there.

There was no hill to climb.

Just sky.

I didn’t know what to do with the sky.

What was I to do?

When I crawled in 2006, it took me a long time to get up.

When I got up it took me a long time to walk.

When I walked it took forever to run.

And when the climbing came, I climbed for a whole decade.

Climbed every day for so many years.

Until now.

I had reached a summit and climbing wouldn’t do.

I was so scared that I went back to crawling.

Crawling in circles.

I was begging the universe, I was begging God to let me just climb my way to this next chapter of my life also.

But it wasn’t working.

This was no longer Life Reentry which I knew how to do really well.

This was ENTRY.

This place I am about to go to I had never ever been before.

And all of my ways of living, thriving, being is not going to do.

I truly have to learn how to fly now.

You see when we keep going against all odds and we keep creating a big life we will all get to a summit, and we will be asked to fly.

I have always wanted to get to this place, the mountain top.

The place with the views.

I dreamed of it.

I even bought a house with a view of a mountain top.

I have looked at it.

Gazed at it.

And climbed towards it every day.

Now what am I to do?

Fly?

Fly to where?

The sky?

And as I am writing this, I feel the sky saying to me.

We have all been waiting for you.

Fly and the sky will hold you. Fly and we will fly with you. Fly and the world will fly next to you. (Click Here to Tweet!)

Here’s to your mountain top, your wings and your first flight my dear friend.

And remember if you are in the crawling phase always look for the mountain-top when you close your eyes.

With skies ahead,

Christina

PS. You can now pre-order my new book, my sky. My wings.

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Where-Did-You-Go-Life-Changing/dp/0062689622/

Masterclass, audio sounds, notes and book: www.wheredidyougobook.com

It comes in like a lullaby.

Quiet at first but so melodical that you recognize it.

It calms you down and it gets you through another day.

It almost feels like it is coming from really far away, from a different place.

Outside of earth.

I am talking about Hope.

The most precious feeling especially for those of us who have been struck by loss.

For every person who feels the burden of grief.

For every kid, adult, mother, father, sister, brother, friend.

For everyone who has lost the sound of the lullaby.

I am here to tell you that it is still with you.

Hope is a part of our hardest days.

Even when nothing is left, and we feel like we have no more guts, courage or even strength to keep going we find Hope still there.

I think God is Hope. 

I think the Universe is Hope. 

I think knowing where we come from and where we are heading is Hope. 

Knowing what we are made of is Hope. 

And you are made of something divine. (Click Here to Tweet!)

Something so intelligent.

Hope is part of that intelligence and outwardly experience.

If you are having a hard day, week, month, year I am going to ask you to remember that we were made to feel hope in our darkest moments.

We hear the lullaby in the dark.

On the ground.

With nobody there to take care of us. With no money. No plan B.

That is when Hope will come and play her melody.

Only then.

And when Hope isn’t there anymore, it means that whatever is taking place we are able to get ourselves through.

I just wanted to write about Hope today, it’s September.

It’s a busy time. It’s the fall.

It’s a lot of things.

I know you may be on your knees.

And I hope this letter finds you when you need it the most.

With so much hope for every dark moment,

Christina

I first met her after my husband was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer.

Her first words were… you should have been the one dying.

It would have been easier.

Then she went on to tell me that I would not be able to raise my kids without him,

that he was the smart one.

He was the strong one.

He was the one with a job.

He was the one who could do it all.

It should have been me with the cancer.

After he died she told me how I should start looking for a job immediately and not think about my dreams.

She told me to be afraid. Very afraid.

She told me that I was not a good parent without him.

She told me I would suffer for the rest of my life.

That I would fail at everything.

She convinced me to get the job I hated. She said…it’s better than nothing.

It took me a while to figure out that she was the voice inside my head making my life after loss much worse than it had to be.

As the years went by I named her My Survivor and I have trained myself and thousands of others to gently show her the door.

My response to her took years but I finally found the strength to talk back.

And, I have been proving her wrong for the last decade.

I showed her that I am one smart woman capable of things that seemed impossible to her after he died.

I showed her that I am one heck of a mom raising my daughters.

I built my own company despite her telling me I was not worthy.

And I have been making my dreams come true regardless of her daily presence, still to this day.

Our Survivor voice does not go away… ever. Never.

As the years go by she gets very skilled, very loud, very convincing but we get really good at shutting her down.  

The Survivor self finds her way in, especially after loss, when our identity is in crisis. (Click Here to Tweet!)

I nearly believed that my life after loss would not be worth living. That was a lie.

So look out for the Survivor trying to influence you.

Start writing her words and sentences down.

What is the one thing she keeps telling you about your life after loss?

Remember she wants you to be safe and run away from life.

Don’t listen.

With a thriving voice,

Christina

P.S. Just a few seats left for our online Life Reentry class that starts Tuesday. Join me and many others who are ready to rid of their survivor voice:  https://lifereentry.com/life-reentry-class/