Finding Holiday Joy Amid the Grief

 

 

Although this season brings  fun and festivities, many of our friendsgroup of lanterns

find it hard to feel joyful when their hearts are heavy with grief.

 

 

 

 

Whether from a  recent loss, or  one many years ago, grieving for the loved ones who won’t be here to celebrate with us can dampen our holiday spirit and  lead to depression. 

  • I think of my friend  who has lost both a sister and a son this year.
  • I remember my friends who tragically lost their teen aged daughter in a car wreck just a few days before Christmas many years ago.
  • I consider my medical colleague who is battling cancer.
  • My heart aches for my friends who lost a young aunt to an undiagnosed medical condition which suddenly proved fatal .
  • And my husband and I  still grieve the loss of our parents and siblings at Christmas even after many years.

 

As one friend wrote-

“This is my second Christmas without my husband.  It has been tough, but also a reminder that God is the god of all comfort. That works for me. And… it is a reminder to pray comfort to anyone who has faced a loss of a loved one including precious pets. Loss from any source needs a comforting friend.”

If you know someone who needs a “comforting friend”,  please take the time to reach out to them so they know someone cares and they are not alone.

Here is advice from Nancy Guthrie on

What to say to grieving people. 

“Honestly, the most painful thing is when you’ve had a loss and someone around you—because of the awkwardness — never acknowledges it. That’s what hurts the most.”

xmas house

On the Harvard Health Blog, Dr. Anthony Komaroff  advises on 

Coping with grief and loss during the holidays

 “Grief is not a tidy, orderly process, and there is no right way to grieve. Every person—and every family—does it differently. This can cause emotions to collide and overlap, especially during the holiday season when the emphasis is on rebirth and renewal.”

My family and I wish all of you health and wholeness in

body, mind and spirit.

man and woman in front of the Alamo at Christmas

My husband and I at the Alamo in San Antonio Texas at Christmas

 

More holiday tips from Watercress Words at these links-

How to anticipate and relieve holiday stress

Healthy holiday eating made easy

 

And please consider my affiliates and advertisers for your holiday gifts, your support helps  fund this blog and increase its value to you. Thank you!

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6 Best Medical Books of the Past 75 Years

I need to tell you this post contains multiple affiliate links, both for your convenience and to help support this blog by the commission paid if you choose to use. Thank you.

 

I read the Parade magazine in my Sunday newspaper regularly (see previous post). To celebrate  75 years of publication,  the editors commissioned  author Ann Patchett to create a list of “The 75 Best Books of the Past 75 Years” .

 

As Ms. Patchett explained, she enlisted the help of the staff at Parnassus Books, a bookstore she owns in Nashville Tennessee. They limited their consideration  to books written in English. She calls the list a “mash-up that exemplifies the passionate convictions of 17 booksellers.”

 

Many of the books of the list are unfamiliar to me, but I recognized some well known classics like

Charlotte’s Web

The Old Man and the Sea

Fahrenheit 451

A Wrinkle in Time (a personal favorite of mine) 

Where the Wild Things Are

To Kill a Mockingbird, and

the Harry Potter series.

 

Although many books deal with birth and/or death to some extent, I searched the list for ones with a definite medical connection or theme that ran through most if not all of the book.  I’m sharing those with you here.(There might be others, these seemed most  obvious to me) . They are listed in chronological order by publication dates.  

 

Caution: Most of these discuss adult themes and issues which may not be appropriate for children or adolescents without adult guidance.

 

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

This is a novel about a woman with depression but is considered semi-autobiographical. The author , Sylvia Plath, a poet,  suffered from depression and died by suicide not long after publishing this book, her only novel. It was also made into a film.

 

 

 

 

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey.

This may be more familiar to you as the same titled movie which won five major Academy Awards, including Best Actor  Jack Nicholson and Best Actress Louise Fletcher.

 The novel’s events take place in a psychiatric hospital and examines the treatment and mistreatment of patients in such facilities.

 

The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA by James D. Watson, PhD.

 

the double helix molecule of DNA

used courtesy of skeeze on Pixabay

 

 

 

As the name implies, Dr. Watson wrote about his and Francis Crick’s discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. The book mostly ignored the contributions of Rosalind Franklin, who also worked on DNA, earning it criticism for this.

 

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Described as a young adult novel, it relates the story of  a female high school student who sinks into depression after being raped, which she is afraid to report to anyone.   

 

 

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

In this novel ,  Lucy, a young woman hospitalized with a mysterious illness for 9 weeks, receives a 5 day visit from her mother.   

 

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, M.D.

A memoir by a neurosurgical resident who learns he is terminally ill. I have reviewed this book here. I would vote this as the best medical book. 

 

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

 

Finding Holiday Joy Amid the Grief

 

xmas house

 

 

Although this season brings  fun and festivities, many of our friends  find it hard to feel joyful when their hearts are heavy with grief.

Whether from a  recent loss, or  one many years ago, grieving for the loved ones who won’t be here to celebrate with us can dampen our holiday spirit and  lead to depression. 

  • I think of my friend  and her adult children who recently lost their  husband and father.
  • I remember my friends who tragically lost their teen aged daughter in a car wreck just a few days before Christmas many years ago.
  • I consider my newly married friend who is battling cancer.
  • Another friend is struggling financially due to the downturn in his oil producing business.
  • And my husband and I  feel the loss of our parents and siblings at Christmas even after many years

As one friend wrote-

“This is my second Christmas without my husband.  It has been tough, but also a reminder that God is the god of all comfort. That works for me. And… it is a reminder to pray comfort to anyone who has faced a loss of a loved one including precious pets. Loss from any source needs a comforting friend.”

If you know someone who needs a “comforting friend”,  please take the time to reach out to them so they know someone cares and they are not alone.

Whatever your situation,  you may find some helpful suggestions in this article from the WebMD archives

Finding Holiday Joy Amid the Grief

My family and I wish all of you health and wholeness in

body, mind and spirit.

Merry Christmas from Dr. Aletha and Raymond

love from Dr. Aletha and Raymond