Whispers from the Ghost of Christmas Past
You know those familiar whispers from The Ghost of Christmas Past:
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”
“I’ll be home for Christmas…”
“There’s no place like home for the holidays…”
Stations on our car radio blast out these holiday favorites even before the Thanksgiving turkey has been carved. Prime time television stocks its lineup in mid-November with familiar seasonal specials to awaken our senses. These songs and shows stoke our nostalgic fire.
Charles Dickens created three spirits to haunt Ebenezer Scrooge during his fictional self-discovery journey in the classic 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol :
The Ghost of Christmas Past.
The Ghost of Christmas Present.
The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.
The iconic story of Scrooge’s redemption is a familiar tale that has been retold in print and repackaged on stage, in the movies and on television through the decades.
In the original story, the white-robed, ageless, gender neutral Ghost of Christmas Past and a mature Scrooge, magically peer through a widow and see a bygone Christmas Eve party hosted by his boss Mr. Fezziwig. Laughter and merriment abound and the miser observes a happier moment in his life’s past.
During the holiday season, The Ghost of Christmas Past boldly steps forward from the shadows and unnerves even the bravest of us who have suffered a loss and are struggling to put one foot in front of the other on grief’s path. Nostalgia is powerful. Its warm glow softens the edges of real life. It practically preserves our memories with a veneer of perfection. Our loving hearts yearn for its warm, safe, familiar feeling.
But, in reality, we are walking with The Ghost of Christmas Present.
It is hard. I know. The shortest day of the year has just passed and the nights are still long and dark. The landscape is brown and muted. It seems like the whole world is celebrating the joy and wonderment of the season while you are faced with the darkness of your loss. Invitations arrive and well-meaning friends and family encourage you to partake in the festivities.
But your heart is not there.
I can say from experience that the comfort in the hope of The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come will help to lighten your load if you let it. There will be brighter days. Be ready for their whispers.
Here are some tips to help you this season:
Try and step lightly into the moment and capture a tiny bit of the day. Don’t use all of your energy to pretend to be fully engaged. Leave a little bit of strength to acknowledge your grief at a private time .
Don’t cave into the pressure to do everything the way that you used to with your loved one. Scale back.
If you are alone at home, announce to those who usually receive a present from you that this year you are focusing on just one gift.The gift of self-healing Ask for their patience and understanding and hopefully in the next year you will be ready to share again.
If you are dreading Christmas Eve, seek out a house of worship that is hosting a Blue Christmas Service to help you find a light in the darkness. Many communities have them.
Remember, if you are spending Christmas with children, that The Ghost of Christmas Present looms larger than The Ghost of Christmas Past for them.
I have enclosed a link of an article that I wrote last December for <<b>> Magazine. It will give you some more insight into my experiences. http://www.bmagazinepa.com/departments/caregiving/articles/1114/keeping-holiday-expections-real1.html
I wish you strength and peace during this season.
May the sweet music of your Christmas whispers warm your heart and keep you company.