This time of year has a strange mix of emotions for me. As you can tell, I LOVE Christmas – all things Christmas! I can’t get enough Christmas music, Christmas goodies, Christmas movies, Christmas decorations… Christmas just makes me happy in a way very few holidays can. However, this time of year also brings about the 1 year anniversary of my grandpa’s death. There are a lot of moments when I get lost in a memory of last year. It’s hard to not be sad as I remember the pain of letting go. It’s strange for me to be on two extremes. It seems like I can be at the peak of Christmas joy and then transported to a valley of sad memories. I don’t like this swinging feeling. To make the season feel even more heavy, my dad’s boss away a week ago. You might wonder why that would affect me. But it does. This man has been in my life for the last 21+ years. He was a good boss and very generous to my family over the years. The business was family owned and operated. The employees are close and his death has shocked them all because it was sudden and unexpected. I know that my dad was very close with this man. I feel the sadness of him losing a friend and having the anniversary of his father’s death all happen in he same week. It’s a lot to process. It’s overwhelming to my emotions.
Before all of this the holidays were busy and always involved navigating family and friends. I wanted to see everyone and balance the social calendar. It was a full season, but for the most part it was just full of fun. I wonder if this is what being an adult is like – having to say good-bye more often than I would like, living with memories that make me both happy and sad. It’s hard to balance my holiday happiness with the sad emotions that seem to spring forth from time to time. I know that life isn’t going to get easier. I know that death is 100% inevitable and is never convenient. People will die at the holidays and other important times throughout the year. I can do nothing about that… so now I must learn how to take the good and the bad and balance them in my life. I must learn how to process difficult emotions during joyful seasons. It’s not easy. I’m sure that I won’t master it, but I’m trying.
I want to live life to the fullest. I want to truly live in each moment and not take it for granted. I am joyful this time of year as I celebrate my Savior coming to earth so he could die for me. I am joyful as I wrap presents and wait for the reactions of family members and loved ones as they open them. I am joyful as I bake goodies and I’m joyful as sing along to Christmas songs. There is a lot to thankful for and happy about. To be joyful doesn’t mean I’m ignoring the sadness, but it doesn’t mean that I’m not letting it over take me. I know that my grandpa wouldn’t want me to view the holidays as a sad time every year. I know that he would want to be remember, but not in sadness – with joy. I guess I’m learning that the life really is layered. You can feel conflicting things at the same time. Managing it all and learning from it has a way of making me feel older. Life lessons have a way of aging me. I think it’s a good thing though. I can still be a kid at heart with the wisdom of time and experience on my side.