Editorials by Robert Kirwan

Keep The Memories Of Your Loved Ones Alive This Christmas Season…     
  There is absolutely no doubt that Christmas is a wonderful time of year, filled with so much joy and happiness. Everyone is attending parties, shopping for gifts, making plans to visit friends and relatives, and generally just trying to keep up with the hectic pace of the holiday season. You can sense the feeling in the air as soon as you walk through the doorway of a store or drive through the brightly lit neighbourhoods at night.   

   However, no matter how happy we are or how much we enjoy the Christmas festivities, most of us will experience a few sad moments at this time of year as well. Perhaps it will overcome you as you are gazing out the window into the clear night, watching the crisp snow falling to the ground. With Christmas carols playing in the background, you fall into a trance and your mind wanders to those special people who are no longer part of your life...and you wonder, “How can Christmas ever be the same without them?”

   We have all endured the pain and suffering of the death of a loved one - grandparent, a parent, a spouse, a child, a close family member or a dear friend. There were certain traditions associated with those loved ones that you cherished, and will miss dearly. Whether your loss was caused by death, divorce, a family member moving to another place, or for any one of numerous other reasons, the feeling of loss is still the same. You miss that person and for a moment you may even wish that you could shut out the sights and sounds of Christmas. After all, how can you feel good about having so much fun without the people who are no longer part of your life?

   You may find yourself among a crowd of people and suddenly be overcome by sadness as you find yourself feeling guilty for having such a good time, knowing that a loved one is no longer with you.  You may even feel like everyone around is staring, wondering what’s wrong? Whenever you find yourself feeling like this, allow the memories to come flooding in. Don’t shut them out. Don’t try to avoid the feelings. Instead, allow the good memories to fill your head and bring you once again to a state of joy. Instead of feeling down, wondering how things will ever be the same without your loved ones, do your best to recall those important traditions and memories and remember the good times you had with them. They wouldn’t want you to miss out on the good things that life has to offer. They would want you to live your life to the fullest, and to be happy when you think about them – not sad.

   This is also the time of year when a simple smile, a touch on the shoulder, holding hands briefly, a sincere compliment or even a little note of recognition can mean the world to those you meet, especially strangers. Reaching out to show that you care and understand how someone else feels is so much easier during the Christmas season because of the overall atmosphere and festive spirit. As you discover the warmth that comes from sharing your love with everyone you meet, you will begin to realize that the memories you have of lost loved ones are cherished more than ever, and instead of making you feel sad, those memories will lift your spirits.

   We can’t escape from the fact that things change in our life as we grow older. Some for the good, and some not so good. Unfortunately, it is usually during times of greatest happiness, such as the Christmas holiday season that we realize just how much things have changed. It is at this time of year that we realize that many of the people who gave us so much happiness and joy in the past are no longer with us. And, even though we can still enjoy the traditions of Christmas with our current circle of family and friends, a part of us longs for those days we had with people who are no longer a part of our life. This year, don’t try to suppress the memories of years gone by. Allow those memories to make this the best Christmas ever.

   So as you go about your final preparations for Christmas 2005, do yourself a big favour and plan to take part in all of the great traditions that have been a part of your life for so many years. Allow some quiet time to recall the memories of years gone by so your loved ones may remain an integral part of the festivities, even if they are no longer around. You will find that they can still add a great deal of joy and happiness to your holiday, even if they are only here in spirit.

Have a very Merry Christmas!


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