This week we are talking about ways to cope better as service couples through the holidays. Many military and first responder families are separated during the holiday season due to demands of service to our community and nation. Many of our service families also carry grief and loss throughout this season for different reasons. Some have lost friends in the line of duty, many have lost their health due to disability, love ones pass away, their life is forever changed by these and other losses. Some people find talking to their pastor or counselor helpful in coping with loss. Others find volunteering their time rewarding and it helps in lifting their spirits during a difficult time in life. In fact, this is one of my favorite ways to spread cheer throughout the holiday season. I love volunteering time caring for people in my community. I especially want to reach those people during the holidays.
It was not that long ago I was struggling with grief through the holidays. I remember a few years ago during the time I was undergoing fertility treatments. I loved organizing service projects for our military community. I remember the doctor saying it was time for my second surgery. I mentioned I had to look at my calendar to make sure I scheduled it around my community events for that month. He seemed a bit surprised and probably thought I as out of my mind but I knew if I did not have volunteer work I would struggle terribly emotionally. Those service projects helped me through a very difficult time in my life. I noticed there was no emotional support for the patients at that fertility clinic so I decided to form a support group. That was another network of support that literally saved me. I would go to dinner with other military spouses who were going through the same treatments and procedures I was and we would talk through our pain. It was the best therapy!!
If you are struggling this holiday season I encourage you to find support in your community. It may be a regular lunch date with friends, talk with your pastor or counselor or maybe volunteering at a local non profit with your family. May you find many ways to lift your spirit and find comfort this holiday!