Managing Grief During the Holiday Season

Angel looking down

The holiday season is a time of celebration and joy with friends and family. For those who are coping with the loss of a loved one, it can be a painful experience, as memories arise of times past when loved ones were there, bringing sadness for the loss of their physical presence on Earth. There are wistful thoughts of how a loved one in spirit would have enjoyed a particular activity or laughed at the antics of our relatives or friends. It is a bittersweet time of sadness when the world around us is partaking in traditions designed to bring people together and celebrate the love we share with one another. For those who are grieving, it can feel as though there is a giant hole in our hearts as we keenly miss the presence of those who have crossed over into Heaven.

The First Year is the Hardest

When my father crossed over into Heaven several years ago, the first year was the hardest. Each milestone event, birthday, holiday, and family celebration brought a reminder of his passing. My heart would ache with the loss, even though I knew he was watching over me and my family from Heaven. He had passed in the month of September, which meant the holidays were right around the corner. I was not in the mood to celebrate, let alone drag out all of the decorations for the house and my Christmas tree. It was around that time I had received wonderful advice which helped me not only get through the holidays, but also ease the pain in my heart. The advice was to try to maintain my holiday traditions as much as possible and to create new ones in honor of my father. At the same time, if I felt the need to pull back from some of the other holiday celebrations, such as ones with friends or coworkers, it would be okay to do so if I did not feel up to it. Being alone on the big holidays was not a good idea, such as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, because it would only lead to greater sadness.

Taking Time Out When Needed, But Keeping Traditions

That first year I did decline many of the holiday invitations I received from people outside of my family. My friends certainly understood my need for some quiet time away from the crowds. Instead, I read books and worked on art projects as a way of giving myself time to rest. I did decorate my house and my Christmas tree. Even though tears streamed down my face as memories of Christmases past brought the pain of the loss of my dad to the surface, I still pushed on and was very glad I did. The sadness would have been worse for me if I had not stuck to my traditions. The holiday season brings such joy and light to my household that the lack of any decorations would have magnified my grief.

Navigating the Holidays

My biggest dilemma was Christmas Eve. Several years before my dad passed, my parents divorced. Christmas Eve was the holiday I spent with my dad and Christmas Day I spent with my mom. Each year, my sister and I would go to my dad’s house on Christmas Eve where he would cook dinner and we would watch my dad’s favorite Christmas movie, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” My dad had a great sense of humor, and still does in spirit. He really loved that movie because it made him laugh, and when I say laugh, I mean body shaking with tears-in-the-eyes guffaw. It did not matter how many times he watched it, it would always crack him up as if he was watching it for the first time.

As my dad proudly chopped and prepped his special Christmas feast in the kitchen, he kept an eye on the movie and would start laughing right before his favorite lines would come up. It was great to enjoy this time with him. His infectious laughter and quoting of his favorite lines made my sister and I laugh even more. After dinner, we would finish watching the movie and open our presents together. On our way home, my sister and I would turn up the radio and sing Christmas carols at the top of our lungs. Laughter and songs filled the car as we marveled at the beautiful light displays on our ride home.

Creating New Traditions

The year my dad passed, my sister and I promised ourselves we would watch “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” every Christmas Eve. I know he watches along with us from Heaven, still laughing and quoting his favorite lines. In addition keeping that tradition, we decided to attend my aunt’s Christmas Eve party that she holds every year for my mom’s side of the family. At first, my sister did not want to go. I urged her to go, as I did not think it would be a good idea for either one of us to sit at home alone with the pain of missing our father wrapping itself around our hearts. Both of us did attend the Christmas Eve event and found ourselves surrounded by loving and understanding family who hugged us, shared fond memories they had with our dad,and welcomed us into the fold of this new holiday tradition for my sister and me.

Healing of the Heart and Spirit

The ensuing years have brought healing to our hearts. We know he is with us in spirit, not just during the holidays, but every day. Your loved ones in spirit are there for you, too. They hear you when you think of them and when you speak of them, they read the notes you write to them, and they watch over you and your family and friends from Heaven.  

Honor Yourself and Your Loved Ones in Spirit

Even though the pain of losing a loved one can be overwhelming during the holidays, it is good to give yourself a break when needed and to maintain traditions when you can. Creating new ones that honor your loved ones in spirit is a magnificent way to keep them close in your heart with fond memories of good times spent with one another and the love you share. From Heaven, our loved ones in spirit share the holidays with us. They watch over us as guardian angels and love it when we recognize their presence in our lives through the signs they send.

Our Spirits Entwined

In honor of all of your loved ones in spirit, I wrote this poem. May it bring you comfort and love this holiday season:

Our Spirits Entwined
By Karen T. Hluchan, Spirit Medium

As holiday preparations get underway,
I walk beside you in spirit each night and each day.
Your pain, sadness, joy, laughter, and tears,
Are felt within my spirit with each passing year.
I know your heart better than mine,
As we will always be connected, our spirits entwined.
The view from above is glorious and grand,
I reach out from Heaven to gently clasp your hand.
It will be okay, I am alright,
I am here with you now, sharing my love with all of my might.
I send you signs to let you know I am near,
Through feelings and images, words whispered in your ear.
The songs you hear that remind you of me,
Play for a purpose in all that will be.
Our love did not end on the day that I died,
It continues from Heaven, so strong are the ties.
We are never truly parted, God does have a plan,
To bring blessings to you and our entire clan.
Uplift your heart when I am near,
And share beautiful memories, so close and so dear.
When I appear in your dreams, please know it is me,
I am there to help out, to help you to see.
Your thoughts I can hear when they turn toward our life,
You are my everything, my heart without strife.
Do not be sad, as forever we will be,
Joined in our hearts, you and me.
I am your guardian angel, so true and so near,
I watch over your life and all that is dear.
Thank you for your love and all that we share,
I am here for you, my love, I need you, I care.
I am not far away, just a thought is all that is needed,
To have me by your side, your call is heeded.
Be gentle with your heart, and know I am there,
For now and forever, our souls will always be paired.

With Love and Light,
Karen T. Hluchan

Spirit Medium, Motivational Speaker, Reiki Master, Spiritual Artist, & Author of How Have You Loved?

www.HealingSpiritWithLove.com

Karen T. Hluchan is a spirit medium, motivational speaker, Reiki master, spiritual artist, and author of How Have You Loved?Through her mediumship practice, Healing Spirit with Love, she devotes her time to the healing of spirit on earth through her connection with heaven. Her passion for her calling is shared through spirit medium readings and angel readings, speaking engagements, and workshops she instructs, as well as through her writing, Reiki, and fine art spiritual paintings. All of her work is inspired by the divine light that is within us all. She has a great love of nature, people, and the planet, and she enjoys her connection in spirit, both here and in heaven.

Click here to learn more about Karen’s upcoming events or click here to learn more about Karen’s Workshops.

When Pets Cross Over into Heaven

Shadow_2012

Shadow (2012)

Animals, especially our pets, have a special place in many of our hearts. The unconditional love they share with us is a model for how we can love one another. Anyone who has fallen in love with their pet knows they give so much love and gratitude for our companionship and care. When it comes time for them to cross over into heaven, it is a loss that is felt deeply by all in the household, including other pets.

Surrounded by Loving Beings

When the time comes for our beloved animal companions to cross over to the Other Side, it can be a very emotional and heartbreaking time. It is comforting to know that our pets, just like human beings, are surrounded by spirit guides, loved ones in spirit, and the angels during their transition to heaven. Recently, when my cat, Shadow, passed, I asked the angels to show me his journey in order to share with you what happens when our pets cross over into heaven.

Spirit Guides Ease Their Transition

When Shadow passed, his spirit guides were there to show him the way to heaven. As with people, the guides are unique to the animal. Each being is born with a spirit guide who remains with them for their time on earth, and animals are no different. When pets cross over, their personal spirit guide is there, as well as deceased loved ones who knew them (people and animals), angels, past spiritual masters, and even God. The guides are there to inform them that their physical body has expired, indicating it is time to cross over into heaven. The pull of love is strong on earth, especially if there were deep bonds formed with their companion family. The guides gently let them know it is time to move on to heaven, and that they will never truly be separated from their earthly companions because the love they share will keep them connected. They let them know that, once they have crossed, they can visit in spirit with their loved ones on earth to give them comfort and signs that they are around. Like people, pets can be scared of being separated from loved ones and the life they knew; however, the angels bring peace to their hearts and minds, easing their transition.

Time for Orientation

In the same way that people have an orientation to heaven, animals are also given an introduction and an educational session about heaven. They learn about their new home, as well as what they can do while they are there, including how they can communicate and help their loved ones on earth. They are reunited with loved ones who have crossed over before them, including animal parents and siblings, as well as people who knew them and loved them. The angels, guides, and deceased loved ones often volunteer to watch over them as they await the arrival of their companion family on earth.

Grief Transformed Through Understanding

As with those of us on earth, our beloved pets do experience some sorrow during their transition to heaven. It is natural to feel a sense of loss for the life and companions they knew on earth; however, the grief does not last like it does on earth because the abundant peace and love of heaven embraces them. In addition, they are given the gift of knowledge and enlightenment that allows them to better understand the workings of the universe and their role in it. Any pain they felt in life disappears, and they are transformed into younger and healthier versions of themselves. They are free to run and play, make new friends, roll in the softest spring green grass, and curl up in the warmth of the sun with loved ones.

Visiting Loved Ones on Earth

Kitten bottle feeding

Shadow holding his own bottle. (September 2000)

After their initial period of transition has been completed and grief over your loss has eased, your pets will visit you on earth. You may catch a glimpse of them out of the corner of your eye or see images that remind you of them, you may feel them curled up next to you on the couch or bed, and you may also hear the joyful sounds they used to make just for you. When animals communicate with me both here and from the Other Side, it is very similar to the way human loved ones in spirit communicate with me. They use all of my senses to transmit their messages, and the thought impressions I receive are translated into a spoken language I understand. When they communicate with you, you may receive signs and messages through images, sounds, feelings, smells, and more. It is not a coincidence that the day after Shadow passed a video popped up on one of my social media newsfeeds of a very young kitten holding its own bottle as it was being fed kitten replacement milk. When I adopted Shadow into my heart almost fifteen years ago, he was only two weeks old. Because he was abandoned by his natural mother at such a young age, he needed to be bottle-fed kitten replacement milk. I thought it was adorable how Shadow would hold his kitten-sized bottle with his paws. On an interesting side note, all kittens and puppies are born with brilliant blue eyes, just like human babies. If an extremely young animal comes under your care, you should take it to the veterinarian as soon as possible. They have very special needs, ones that you would not even think about, that need to be immediately addressed.

Love Connection

Our beloved pets and companions leave impressions of their love on our hearts. The relationships we build and nurture on earth with all beings creates a bond that cannot be broken with the expiration of our physical bodies. Love is the strongest energy in the universe. It is the ultimate power that links each and every one of us together. It is the spark of life that created our souls, and when we find others whose spark grows and expands within each other’s company, we know we have found our soulmates, our twin flames, and our spiritual family.

Blessings and love to you and yours. May your soul be eased with the love of the angels.

In Memoriam of Shadow

Shadow_August 3, 2015In memory of my sweet and loving Shadow, who will always be my hero, loving companion, and special boy. Rest in peace and enjoy your time in heaven. Thank you for 15 glorious years of love on earth.

September 3, 2000 – August 3, 2015