I think we all try our best to put on a smiling face when we walk out our front doors to face the world every day. This time of year I know that I personally get an extra pep in my step whenever the local radio stations start playing holiday tunes 24/7 and the Yule Log Channel comes to life on Netflix. Meanwhile, your mind might be racing through whether you've brought all the gifts you need for that particular person on your list...did you get that thing you signed up to bring for the holiday party...did I lock the door when we left the house?...oh I need to defrost that roast for tomorrow before my in-laws fly in, etc.
It's one of the busiest times of the year and we're all running around trying to make sure things are picture perfect for everyone in our lives. But I think you'd agree that as happy as the holidays can be, they can also be a stressful time. And sometimes, putting on a brave face and a smile is a struggle especially during the holidays, especially when you've lost someone near and dear to your heart.
If you've been following along this year, you know that we lost a dear friend to suicide, completely out of the blue. He was part of our daily lives for nearly two decades, and his presence has been truly missed in the small and big moments of all of our days.
This sudden loss shook me to my core, especially after a few years of other deep losses of friends and family members, and brought up feelings I didn't know how to process on my own. As much as I didn't want this to be a catalyst, his death pushed me to find a therapist to talk through what I was feeling.
I will fully admit we've touched on things that I haven't thought about since I was a small child, and it hasn't been the most comfortable journey, but it has definitely been necessary to process and use the skills we've discussed to get through this season of life - not only for me, but how to talk through this with my own kids. I personally believe that its one of the strongest and smartest things you can do for yourself is to admit when you need help and the bravest thing you can do for yourself is to ask for it.
And I know this isn't your typical ideal interior design blog post, but I felt compelled to share - as a "normal" mom and wife who is juggling work and home life like most of you I'm sure, that loss and grief can and will eventually at some point touch your life, or someone in your life. It is sadly inevitable, and I felt truly compelled to share with you that asking for help to process grief or anxiety or whatever you're feeling for that matter....it doesn't have to be grief...reaching out to a friend or trusted soul or licensed professional when you need it is completely ok.
Truthfully, my own vulnerability in sharing that I was struggling with grief and all its stages including anger with a friend is what led me to my therapist...so I'd like to pay it forward and encourage you to have the courage to tell a trusted person when you or someone you love is struggling. We're on this planet to care for each other, so please take the time to check in if something feels off with the friend or co-worker that seemingly has it all together, or the spouse, child, sibling or parent that doesn't normally share emotions. I'm here to tell you that you should trust your gut when something feels off, whether its with you personally or with a friend. That really could make all the difference.
If you don't know where to start, Bo's Place is a great resource for recommendations on reading about grief:
Here's another great resource for those whose lives have been affected by suicide that was shared with me by another sweet friend:
And if you're out there missing someone dear to you in the midst of holiday celebrations, know that you aren't alone - I'm right there with you. May peace be with you, today and every day.