On December 24, 1981, my world came to a crashing halt. I had left my beloved father on a gurney in a Brooklyn hospital emergency room and never saw him again. I said goodbye to him not knowing that it was really farewell. He died hours later of a heart attack.
There are millions of people who will spend this Christmas without their love ones, including yours truly. Someone’s sister died unexpectedly from cancer. A mother buried her murdered son. A physician dies abruptly from a heart attack leaving his family that adored him.
Christmas represents a season of love: love for the Christ-Child but also love for mankind. Loving each other is important but so is the love of self. Take care of your body temple because it is only on temporary loan. Live a purposeful life that brings meaning to you as well as others. Smile at a stranger. Release old grudges. Do the thing that gives terrorizes you because when you face that fear, you will inevitably be free.
One of my biggest phobias involved entertaining people but on the weekend of my grandmother’s funeral, I decided to face that fear head-on. I gave an impromptu dinner party for my relatives and it was a smashing success. Raucous laughter. Family love. Good food and good times. I think my grandmother was pleased.
Spending the first Christmas without your love one won’t be easy but you WILL get through it. Remember the good times. The sweet times. Those times that brought laughter and love. If you’re having an extremely difficult time coping, then by all means seek professional help. The absence of our loved ones is a gentle reminder that there is an expiration date behind each of our names.
Let us remember the sacred words of Stephen Grellet, “I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”