One of the very painful things around divorce and separation is knowing and working out how to survive Christmas when you feel alone. Being in an unknown world, often devastated by loss regardless of whether it was something you chose to happen or not, simply reminds us of Christmases that have passed. We are all too aware of our old traditions that cannot now happen. Our anticipation is marred by the unexpected and the not-knowing-what-to-expect of the Christmas of today.
It is a complicated and confusing place to be. Realistically, how can we survive?
We have to begin simply where we are. Mourning the loss of our hopes and dreams around the festive season and the plans we made – even if only in our minds – is important. They have been dashed and disappointed and so on Christmas Day we may not be able to smile and pretend all is well – we might need ten minutes in the bathroom for a good cry (every twenty minutes) before we put a brave face back on for our children. We need to do what we need to do.
Imagine a close friend had experienced what you have in the recent past; what would you say to them? Come and be in our home, do what you need to, feel free to be sad? Affording ourselves the same grace and compassion we would extend to others seems to go against our natural selves, yet this is the time we are often most in need of it. Offer yourself the same consideration you would offer to others. Imagine you’re your own best friend, or give yourself the advice you would offer to them.
Sometimes simply ‘getting through’ is what we need to do. A time when the expectation is jollity and enjoyment is one of the hardest to endure. Yet endure we can, and do, as best we know how, and with all the grace for ourselves we can muster.
Because one day, there will be hope for Christmas Future. It won’t always be the same, but for now acknowledge it is hard, and that it won’t always be this way. New traditions and opportunities beckon, beyond the brokenness of today.