Would you give your most precious belongings to a stranger?
I’m not sure what you care about but think about it. Think about something you care a lot about and wonder whether or not you would give it away freely or with hesitation. Would you give a stranger your mother’s ring? Would you give your car? Would you give your cellphone?
Now imagine what that may feel like for a family when they arrive to a classroom or school for the first time where their child will be going. It’s not easy. Our families need hugs the most. During the day, when our children say they miss their loved ones we often remind our children that no matter what they are always in their hearts. I used to say no matter what they will always be back but a part of me feels like that is a lie. Because I remember when my mother didn’t come back. I remember the day my mother died.
Now I say, no matter what they are always in your heart. No matter what. It’s never really a goodbye. And, a great educator and now friend from Nigeria said, “We meet to part and part to meet.” It’s never really a goodbye. She had a finesse and way of saying goodbye without ever saying bye. In that moment, she spoke to and educated not my head but my heart and spirit. I pay that kind of thing forward. With love+light+hugs.
The most wonderful time of the year. But is it? I am feeling tension and unlike myself lately. I am missing loved ones who have passed. 105 people die every minute. Nearly 2 every second. Life is precious. So very precious.
When it comes to my feelings, I chalked some of it up to the full moon and it’s power of making waves. In fact, there has been a cataclysm of events making waves. Globally countries are struggling with leadership and death.
Lately, I have been hanging on to hope and resiliency. I stare at a photo of 6 year old Ruby Bridges who endured and triumphed standing as a metaphor and reminder that “what doesn’t kill you does in fact make you stronger”. At 6, Ruby Bridges showed a courage that resonates today. I had the opportunity of listening to Ruby Bridges speak in 2015 at the annual NAEYC conference. The kind of courage and poise she personifies and how it connects with us, children, families and educators.
Holidays are hard for many. For a lot of my own life, holidays were often off for me and awkward. There are empty chairs of those we miss and love. You feel the infinite loss and ache of missing loved ones. It is easier to send a gift and/or photo of smiling faces saying Happy Holidays. It is the thought that counts but what do we do for those who feel alone? How do we help others cope during grief or a sense of loss? What gifts can you give to the broken-hearted?
Here are gifts to give:
Gift of Memory: Take a moment to remember and honor the memory of a loved one by a hug, card or phone call. Although there is an empty chair at the table fill it with memories and honor their memory.
Gift of hope: We experience both sadness and joy. It’s deeply triggered by the holidays. Show up and offer to help those you care about. From the daily routines to collaging and scrap booking memories.
Gift of Love: Be in the moment with those who are still living. Show them you love them. If you are the one feeling sad tell them it is hard but stay hopeful.
Gift of friendship: Invite and include those who feel sad even if they may cancel or decline from shopping to having dinner.
Gift of Surprise and Spontaneity: Encourage doing something unusual such as a road trip or a flight to visit loved ones still here. Follow through.
Give the gift of time: Its about time well spent with those you love so spend it wisely. Spend some time whether over coffee, a movie, a stop by visit or something special to do together
Give the gift of food for the soul whether baked goods or a home cooked meal to enjoy together
The gift of listening: remember, it’s not not knowing what to say but listening and being there.
Looking for more gift ideas? Visit Sympathy Solutions at: