For many people, the arrival of the holiday season brings with it a mixed bag of emotions: excited, anticipatory, joyous and hopeful feelings, as well as feelings of dread, loneliness, and the wishful thought that the time period between Halloween and New Year’s would just disappear. For whatever reason, everyone deals with the holidays his or her own way. But having a loved one that has passed away throws an entirely new set of emotions into the already crowded mix. Especially when that loved one is your child.
During the holiday season it is more common than not to finish a conversation or a visit with a statement like, Have a great holiday, or Merry Christmas, or Happy Hanukkah! Those words flow naturally from person to person, usually without a thought to what they actually mean. But when the person on the receiving end of those words is someone that has lost a loved one, they can set off a whole set of feelings and emotions that for most of the year have been “under control.”
It is even more difficult if your loved one actually passed away during the holidays—which is what happened to me.
It was December 23, 2007 when I got the call no one ever wants to get. The following excerpt from my book Hummingbirds Don’t Fly In the Rain describes what happened when the phone rang:
I picked up the phone; it was Bob Klein, my ex-husband Michael’s father.
“Kim, something terrible has happened. The plane with Michael and Frankie—“
My mouth went dry. “What about Talia? Where’s Talia?” I pleaded, not understanding why he hadn’t mentioned my daughter—his granddaughter—only her friend, Francesca Lewis.
“Talia was with Michael and Frankie, but their plane never landed in Volcan. It’s missing.”
My heart stopped. My brain stopped. I stared into space with the phone at my ear, unable to speak…
What started as a regular holiday season for me ended up being the worst time of my life. After nearly three days of not knowing where my daughter’s plane was and whether or not she was alive, I found out, on Christmas Day, that she had in fact, died. Now not only had the worst thing that could ever happen to me happened, it had happened during the holidays! I would forever have to deal with the pain of losing my daughter, the memory even more vivid every year at the anniversary of her death—the same time the world was celebrating!
I had no idea how I was going to be able to go on, let alone deal with the holidays, every year! But something happened to heal me. To help me get through the holidays. And every other day of the year. It was my daughter.
Another excerpt from Hummingbirds:
“… Since the very moment I realized Talia was “dead,” I began receiving many messages from her through various sources, all of which have built on one other and been confirmed by one other. When looked at both alone and as a whole, they have proven to me that not only is Talia actually telling people the messages they relay to me, but, beyond that, those messages are in every way totally, completely, and irrevocably Talia. I know, deeper in my heart and soul than I can even describe, that Talia is communicating to me and, most important, that she is not “dead,” but more alive and amazing now than she was with me here on earth… From the moment I really understood she was gone, I went from not believing in life after death to absolutely believing in it. I knew that the messages Talia was sending me from beyond were from her, and so very real.”
My daughter continued to send me messages, via a medium, a friend called “G,” and as time went on her messages grew in length, in depth and in meaning. The messages from her went from loving messages meant for me alone, to more detailed messages of love, joy, the meaning of life, and statements that there is no death, meant for anyone and everyone who wished to read them.
So, what if you did not have to keep your feelings of loss and sadness “under control,” at all? What if you no longer had those feelings? What if your feelings were those of love, gratitude, happiness and hope? What if every time you heard your loved one’s name you smiled, you laughed, and the tears that began to stream from your eyes were not tears of sadness but tears of joy for them, not about them? This is possible.
When you lose a loved one, a hole is left in your heart. That hole can either stay empty, bringing you sadness, or you can fill it with the knowledge that your loved one is not dead as we know it, but very much alive and living a life much more grand and beautiful than the one here, on earth in the body. That is what happened to me. That is what can happen to you.