Happy Holidays and the Riding the Grief Train

Happy Holidays and the Riding the Grief Train

We are definitely winding down and entering the holiday season.   If you read my last week's blog you understand the "grinch" that lives in my heart.  I hope that the blog itself wasn't negative or anything for you all and I hope it gave you a scope of insight not only how I feel, but how I know a lot of people feel.   The holidays are hard. PERIOD. 

I truly do hope that as you wake on Christmas Eve day and Christmas morning, you can find space in your heart to allow the gentleness of this life to encompass you.  I pray that the memories of your loved ones who have gone before you, fill your heart with nothing but warmth.  It will be sad, there will be no bypassing the sadness of what "should" be; but there is space for loving and acknowledging the life they lived and the holidays past that you used to share.   Give yourself GRACE, give yourself BREATH, give yourself LOVE, give yourself the MEMORIES.  

It can be okay and sometimes the leading up to the day is always harder.  We gear up for the Christmas holiday months ahead of time and by the time it actually gets here, we really want it all just to be DONE!!!   

A couple of years ago I came across the "Grief Train" analogy written by Jan Warner  and let me tell you; I think it is a beautiful analogy of grief and the ride we are on during our time of grief.   I like to share it during the holiday season because this is the time we really want to stay on the train of grief.   So, I'm sharing it with you all now, I hope it comforts and resonates with you as you journey through this holiday season.

 When the grief train pulled into my station I got on and found a comfortable seat to snuggle into. I watched the world go by and was quite content in my unhappiness. Then I saw that other people were getting off the grief train. Some of them I never saw again and I didn't know where they went. Others would get off and get back on again. We talked about the adventures they had. I began to realize that maybe my comfortable seat wasn't so comfortable anymore. Maybe I could participate in some adventures instead of just being an observer. I took my baggage with me and got off at the very next station. I had quite a lovely time. Now I had a story to tell when I got back on the train. I was surprised when someone told me that I could leave my baggage on the train when I decided to get off. I was rather attached to my baggage. However, I decided to try it. I was given a golden receipt to reclaim it and that reassured me. This time when I got off of the train I decided to stay off longer. I had several adventures. When I got back on the train, there was all my baggage waiting for me. I didn't need so much of it now. The man in charge of the baggage compartment told me there were a lot of people who loved to carry a lot of baggage and he would give some of mine to them. And so it went.

I still like to journey on the grief train. Sometimes when I look out of the window I see wonderful memories of events that happened in the past. Sometimes when I curl up in my seat I spend time with people who have died. I've kept the parts of my baggage I'm not ready to let go of yet. I open it up and unpack it a little. It is lighter now. I've discovered that the people who I'm lonely for don't have to stay on the grief train. They come with me wherever I go. I like having them with me on my adventures. I had turned the grief train into a prison. It isn't. It's a way to journey to new places, especially when I am willing to go through the open doors to see what is waiting for me.
I would have rather not been a passenger at all. However, now that I am, I am beginning to see that I am not a desperate or helpless passenger. I am also the person who plans the journey and makes the adventures happen. I have been given tickets to an unlimited number of places. Many colors of tickets. Many sizes of tickets. It is up to me how many of them I use. How will I figure it out? Partly by talking to other people - those who are on this journey and those who are on other journeys. Partly by listening to the spirits of my beloved dead who still talk to me. Partly by listening to my own heart. Sometimes by looking at myself and the world through the eyes of those who love me instead of my own eyes. Perspectacles. There are many maps and I have time and freedom to find the one that is right for me. Sometimes staying on track. Sometimes getting off and wandering around discovering things. Sometimes getting off with a definite plan to accomplish.
All these choices are mine because I am among the living still. The more I can do here the more I know those who have gone before me will be proud of me that I am still learning.
When you are ready to get off your own grief train I wish you many adventures and that you find that you need less and less baggage as your journey continues.
So, I hope that this resonated with you or like Jan said gave you "perspectacles".  I truly do hope you have a gentle holiday and you and yours are blessed.  I will be holding all of you who have journeyed this last year with me and who continue to believe in what I'm doing; you will have space in my heart this season.  Together WE are ALL better!  
Love & Blessings - Angie 


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I loved reading “The Grief Train” again; it is so well written. Looking forward to seeing you Christmas!

Judy Kay Hanson

Thank you, Angie! This is just what I needed to read. Today is my mom’s birthday and the 2nd without her. This has been a tough week getting to Christmas. I love the train analogy. I’ve taken so many adventures of the train, knowing that I can hop on and off the train.

Jennifer Mullins

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