Jen Hatmaker knows a thing or two about loss and offers some lovely suggestions on how to deal with the holidays and gatherings when they're layered with mixed feelings and grief.
1. Write down what you feel like is missing.
I learned to do this in therapy and thus did this a lot. Whatever it is that you feel like you’re missing or that you never had, write it down.
Maybe it goes something like this:
- “These are words that I would have loved to hear.”
- “This is what I wish I had.”
- “This is what I wish was different.”
- “I wish this relationship was like this.
- “I wish I didn’t have to walk on eggshells in this.”
Something about putting pen to paper takes away some of the power of these thoughts, so they are not swimming around in our minds anymore.
“Let me fall if I must fall. The one I become will catch me.”
2. Write down what you do have.
If you can access this idea, consider what you DO have. While this particular day or this experience isn’t what you may have wanted, write down what you do have.
Think about what is worthy of noticing… it can be the tiniest positive thing. Whatever it is, say what you’re grateful for.
- “I’m thankful for this.”
- “I’m glad for this.”
- “I can experience joy inside this.”
- “I have this person.”
- “It is worth noticing this.”
Feel every feeling, name every sorrow, grieve every loss. This is the true and brave path.
3. Manage your expectations.
Give yourself a pass on the holidays this year if that's what you need. It's ok to get angry in a season of joy… maybe even expected.
Maybe you need to make a decision that you’re not going somewhere — or that something is going to be different this year. Or maybe you just go for two hours. You get to decide how much to let in and how much to leave out.
This is healthy. And you can do it lovingly with a lot of respect and kindness towards yourself.
Expectations about holiday bliss are a source of a lot of our pain.
(In fact, Expectation Hangover is a thing and someone actually wrote a book about it!)
But the bottom line is, disappointment is a very real, human emotion. And you are not alone in feeling the heavy toll of unmet expectations.
The Broken Chain poem is a beloved memorial poem attributed to author Ron Tranmer.
For ages, the power of poetry has had the capability to express the complex and raw emotion we find hard to articulate. The Broken Chain poem is no different:
We little knew that day,
God was going to call your name.
In life, we loved you dearly,
In death, we do the same.
It broke our hearts to lose you.
You did not go alone.
For part of us went with you,
The day God called you home.
You left us peaceful memories,
Your love is still our guide.
And although we cannot see you,
You are always at our side.
Our family chain is broken,
And nothing seems the same,
But as God calls us one by one,
The chain will link again.
Author: Ron Tranmer
The Broken Chain Poem is often used for funeral poems and can be found on various kinds of memorial gifts.
The power of the "Broken Chain Poem" lies in its ability to resonate with so many of us who have lost a family member. It captures the essence of what it means to be human—to love, to lose, and to remember.
In a world that often feels chaotic and senseless, it provides a small pocket of comfort in hard times, reminding us that our family chains will inevitably be broken, but there is hope for the faithful that one day we will all be reunited with all of our members of the family.
The Broken Chain Poem is a welcome memorial gift. There are many kinds of sympathy gifts you can buy that feature this beautiful poem as well.
Why Is The Broken Chain Poem So Popular?
The broken chain poem is so beloved because it offers such a comforting message, but it also can be applied to all family relationships.
Is this poem good for the whole family?
The stanzas are broad enough to represent all family members but personal enough to feel as though they are being spoken about one particular person.
Are there different versions of the broken chain poem?
Yes! The author has revised the poem from the original version. Both broken chain poems can be found on various memorial gifts where you can see slight variations of these memorial verses.
There are so many poems to help keep beautiful memories alive! The broken chain poem is definitely one of the most well known.