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The holidays are a time of many lights, yet the holidays may also be the darkest days for people who are grieving. Although it may seem that everyone else is happy and light-hearted during the holiday season, we know that many people are not only grieving the death of someone they loved, but many other kinds of losses as well, including the loss of hope.

I am reminded of the October fogs here in Seattle area. The sun comes out in the afternoon and things look wonderful until the fog returns at night. We always hope that the next day will repeat the procedure – happy for whatever brief sunlight we can see. It’s somewhat like the respite from grieving we begin to experience when the pain lifts for a few minutes. The grief becomes more bearable when we know that in exchange for hours of hurt, there can be moments of peace and hope.

We hope that, while the holidays may be painful for you, they will also bring the realization that you have the opportunity to exercise choices and make decisions about how you will spend this time. This may be the best gift of all – the opportunity to begin to take charge and direct the course your life will take, if only by one small step at a time.

The candles can be reminders that as time passes, what began as a view of a frighteningly dark future, may finally be seen in the light of your own personal growth toward adjustment to the death of your loved one. Just as the rain passes and a single ray of sunlight at first illuminates only a tiny spot in the dark landscape, light will return to your life, bit by bit.

Take heart and try not to be too afraid of the dark. Look for the candles along the way to give you hope for a brighter new year.


By Dorothy Hanley

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