Well, the holiday season has begun.

There is a hole in my heart, yes. Everyday, I try to fill this hole. In the past, when the holidays arrived, I felt like I was just putting a finger in the dyke. But this year I’m determined to forego the wallowing that I’ve indulged in during previous holidays. I’ve simply had enough. I have lovely plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas and I am sharing them with many friends.

I’m well aware of what the pitfalls are: I start waking up too early in the morning with a heavy feeling. I can’t get back to sleep because my thoughts are racing and I begin to obsess. If I allow myself to continue with negative thoughts about my son and grandchildren, depression and despair will ensue. So, as safeguards, I have some compensators in place, such as structuring my days so that I don’t spend too much time alone. I’m learning to fill myself up with myself – in a good way.

Many of my friends are excitedly anticipating visits from their children and grandchildren. They are shopping for them, planning meals and activities. I do my best to share their happiness and I am genuinely delighted for them. I want the same for myself, but I can’t have it.

I have no idea what to get my grandchildren for Christmas. I always acknowledge them on special days, and as far as I know, they receive the cards and gifts that I send, (which is truly mystifying, since I can’t see them but I can send them things…). I could text my son and ask him, but why? We rarely communicate and my instinct is to leave him alone. If he wants to communicate with me, I’ve learned to let him initiate contact.

I need to relax. I’ve already done too much damage to my heart, body, mind and soul. I have to take the focus off my son and his family and look to myself. I don’t know how much time I have left on this earth and I want it to matter.

My life hasn’t turned out the way I dreamed it would, but that’s okay, really. There have been many tragedies and sorrows in my life, but there have been many blessings and much grace as well. When I take the focus off the heartache and grief, I recognize the many gifts in my life. And that just has to be enough.