HANDLING THE HOLIDAYSFamilies & Friends of Murder Victims FFMV
Families & Friends of Murder Victims: A non-profit organizationDedicated to providing information, support, andfriendship to persons who have experienced thedeath of a loved one through the violent act ofmurder Share Sorrow….. Share StrengthMission: To restore a sense of hope and to provide apathway to well-being to those who have lost a lovedone to murder and to those who are victims ofattempted murder.
The holidays are coming and I’m not ready! I’m not sure I’llever be ready! It’s dark outside and it’s cold. So we turn upthe heat and turn on the lights, but the lights we turn on donot seem to pierce the emptiness of this winter season. Aswe set the dishes and count the silverware, we are acutelyaware of the EMPTY PLACES at the family table. We try tofind the holiday spirit, but WHEN THE FAMILY CIRCLEHAS BEEN BROKEN BY DEATH, THE ONLY THINGSTHAT SPARKLE THIS SEASON MAY BE TEARS.HANDLING THE HOLIDAYS IS NOT A QUESTION OFHOW TO ELIMINATE PAIN AND GRIEF FROM OURLIVES, BUT HOW WE CAN LEARN TO LIVE WITH THEHURT AND GRIEF RATHER THAN BE CONSUMED BY IT.The holidays season can be a time WHEN THE PAST ANDTHE PRESENT COLLIDE. We try to capture what we oncehad or blot out bad memories. We try to ignore the emptychair. We try to ignore the pain and emptiness in our soul.While most of the world seems to be addressing holidaygreeting cards and planning holiday menus, the bereavedare struggling with other concerns: HOW LONG DOESGRIEF LAST? WILL THE HOLIDAYS ALWAYS BE THISAWFUL? WHAT DO WE DO WITH THE EMPTY PLACE ATTHE TABLE? ……Will there ever be LIGHT again?
ONE LITTLE CANDLE I lit a candle tonight, in honor of youremembering your life, and all the times wed been through. Such a small little light the candle made until I realized how much in darkness it lit the way. All the tears Ive cried in all my grief and pain what a garden they grew, watered with human rain I sometimes cant see beyond the moment, in hopeless despair But then your memory sustains me, in heartaches repair. I can wait for the tomorrow, when my sorrows ease Until then, I’ll light this candle, and let my memories run free Author unknown
THANKSGIVING The time draws near And the calendar says Thanksgiving is really here. Time to reflect and time to gather Thoughts of what to be thankful of. Thankful? I think not. My life is not full these days And to be thankful is beyond my grasp. But to give thanks? This, I believe, can be done. Searching my soul deep within Reasons to give thanks surface to the edge Yes, I give thanks For the memories of yesterdays, The love, the laughter, the joy of each day when loved one was with us The trials & tribulations of being an active parent, The rewards & the challenges of raising a child, The days of blissful ignorance when I thought tragedy would never visit our home,The days when life was normal, even though I took it all for granted. For the treasures of todays, The sunrise, sunset, the changing of the seasons, The new found friends along this journey I reluctantly travel The tried & true friends who stand by me still, The strong and everlasting love of my husband The warmth of wet kisses from my canine companion & feline friend, The encouragement & support, compassion & caring I give & receive as I survive and help others survive. For the hopes and possibilities of a peaceful tomorrow, With faith, love, & perseverance as I struggle to move onWith my loved in my heart forevermore, spiritually guiding me with his new presence, With sorrow and reluctance, each new day, To yet, somehow, be open and loving, Not to forsake what Ive learned Because of what Ive lost.
One of the most painful issues for you to deal with is how tosurvive the holidays after the death of the person you love.Because holidays are supposed to be family times, andbecause of the extraordinary (although unrealistic)expectation that you should feel close to everyone, this timeof year can underscore the absence of your deceased lovedone more than any other time. The important thing toremember is that you and your family do have options abouthow to cope with the holidays. These are a few things tokeep in mind:As much as you’d like to skip from November to January2nd, this is impossible. Therefore, it will be wise for you totake control of the situation by facing it squarely andplanning for what you do and do not want to do to getthrough this time.Realize that the anticipation of pain at the holidays is alwaysworse than the actual day.Recognize that what you decide for this year can be changednext year; you can move to something new or back to theold way. Decide what is right for, you and your family now.Don’t worry about all the other holidays to come in yearsahead. You will be at different places in your mourning andin your life then.Recognize, also, that your distress about the holidays isnormal. It doesn’t make you a bad person. Countless otherbereaved people have felt, and do feel, as you do right now.Ask yourself and your loved ones to decide what isimportant for you to make your holidays meaningful andbearable.
Do something symbolic. Think about including rituals thatcan appropriately symbolize your memory of your loved one.For example, a candle burning at Thanksgiving dinner, thehanging of a special Christmas ornament, or the planting ofa tree on New Years Day may help you to mark thecontinued abstract presence of your deceased loved onewhile still celebrating the holiday with those you love whostill survive. Remembering your deceased loved one in thisfashionFacing family holidays in your loved ones absence arenormal mourning experiences and part of the healingprocess. Let your tears and sadness come and gothroughout the whole day if necessary. The tears andemotions you do not express will be the ones which aredestructive to you.Ask for what you want or need from others during theholidays. One bereaved mother said that, as appropriate,she wanted to hear her dead daughter mentioned. She kneweveryone was thinking of her daughter and wanted them toshare their thoughts.You may find yourself reminiscing about other holidays youshared with your deceased loved one. This is normal. Let thememories come. Talk about them. This is part of mourningand doesn’t stop just because it is a holiday. In fact, theholidays usually intensify it.Having some fun at the holidays does not mean you don’tmiss your loved one. It is not a betrayal. You must giveyourself permission to have fun when you can, just like youmust give yourself permission to mourn when you have theneed.
Discuss holiday tasks and responsibilities that must beattended to—for example, preparing the meals, doing theshopping, decorating the house. Consider whether theyshould be continued, reassigned, shared, or eliminated.Break down your goals into small, manageable pieces thatyou can accomplish one at a time. Don’t overwhelm orovercommit yourself. The holidays are stressful times foreveryone, not just the bereaved, so you will need to take itslow and easy. Look at your plans and ask what theyindicate. Are you doing what you want or are you placatingothers? Are you isolating yourself from support or are youtapping into your resources? Are you doing things that aremeaningful or are you just doing things?Do something for someone else. Although you may feeldeprived because of the loss of your loved one, reaching outto another can bring you some measure of fulfillment. Forexample, give a donation in your loved one’s name. Invite aguest to share your festivities. Give food to a needy familyfor Thanksgiving dinner. Perhaps they are not stars in the sky, but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy.
Strategies for SurvivalOffer Yourself Some GraceThe best thing you can do this holiday season is be kind toyourself. Give yourself permission to feel whatever it is yourfeeling. Don’t fall prey to the belief that you have to feel acertain way or do certain things for your holiday to be“normal.” If you feel sad, allow the tears to come; if you feelangry, allow yourself to vent some steam.Be Kind to YourselfGet the rest and nourishment you need. Don’t take on anymore than you can handle. If you need to be alone, honorthat. If you crave the company and affection of others, seekit out. Do whatever it is that feels right to you.Remember That You Will SurviveAs hard as it is for you right now, you will survive. You willmake it through the holidays in one piece. It may be themost difficult season in your time of grief, but it will pass.And when it does, you will come out on the other sidestronger than before.You don’t have to enjoy the holidays. You don’t even have togo through the motions pretending to enjoy the festivities.But, it’s also OK to have a good time in spite of your grief. Ifhappiness slips through your window of grief, allow it tohappen and enjoy it. You won’t be doing your loved one aninjustice by feeling joyous.The best gift you can give anyone you love, even someoneyou have lost, is being true to yourself and living your life tothe fullest.
I will Light Candles this Christmas I will light Candles this Christmas; Candles of joy despite all sadness, Candles of hope where despair keeps watch, Candles of courage for fears ever present, Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days, Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens, Candles of love to inspire all my living, Candles that will burn all the year long. Howard Thuman MISS YOU The petals upon my rose are withering away The color of my heart is beginning to fade The reason you had to leave I do not know I know you come round at night for I see you glow You left in such a hurry I didnt have a chance to say good-byeI cant think of your face because all it makes me do is cry I know youre gone and cant return but remember this Youve taught me a lesson and I have learned Unknown
Riverside Chapter Meets on the 3rd Wednesday of every month at 7pm Avaxat Elementary School, 24300 La Brisas Road in Murrieta, CA Contact Dawn (951) 757-4419For directions ask for PJ at-951-696-1600 x2177 – M-F 9am-4pm (1-2pm lunch) West End Chapter -Bi-lingual Meets every 2nd Thursday of each month at 7:00pm – 8:30pm Participants have the option of the English & Spanish Meeting St. Anthony’s Catholic Church Conference Room 2210 North San Antonio, Upland, CA 91786 Local Grupo Bilingue Los participantes pueden escoger en Inglés o en Español Se reunen cada Segundo Jueves del mes a las 7:00 p.m. Contact persons/ Personas de contacto: Rita Marin (909) 215-7063 Colton Chapter Meets every 1st Tuesday of each month at Christ The Redeemer Catholic Church Robinson Hall – Room 4 12745 Oriole Ave Grand Terrace, CA 92313 6:30pm - 8:00pm For information call: Rose - (909) 798-4803 Special Mentions: Lorraine Aguirre – Victim Advocate Advisor Coachella Valley Chapter Meets every 3rd Wednesday of each month 6:00pm – 8:00pm Portola Community Center Room 2 45-480 Portola Ave (parking on Shadow Mountain) Palm Desert, CA 92260 760-568-2560- Call for directions Rose – 909-754-6969 email@example.com Candy- 619-200-0547 Candyclb@aol.com Oakland Chapter Kaiser in Oakland, Howe St. at Broadway, 12th floor Room 1200 East Contact Helene (510) 452-2553
We Will Always Remember Them FFMV P.O. Box 11222 San Bernardino, Ca. 92423-1222 Rose Madsen (909) 798-4803 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web-site - www.webersons.com/ffmv