merry “imperfect” christmas

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everyone knows that this is the “most wonderful time of the year!” … complete with twinkling lights, roaring fires, hot cocoa, and gifts… beautifully wrapped and tucked carefully underneath the majestic Christmas tree! at least… that’s how my “perfect” Christmas season would look! and indeed, lights are strung along the roofline of my home. stockings are hung by our chimney with care. and this is pretty much the only time of year that Eric puts up with the glitter that winds up everywhere! but this holiday season doesn’t feel “perfect”. it’s definitely not the same. the same as when all 5 of my children were nestled, safely in their beds. Yea. things are definitely different. (deep breath).

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i think that one of the hardest things about the whole “grief” and sadness thing, is that you know in your head that everything is going to be ok. logically, you can find reassurances. But your heart is still so broken, that it’s hard to believe all the sound evidence otherwise.

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while some people, Christmas cheer comes easily… and their homes are full of gingerbread smells, and Christmas music; others… quiet is easier. hustle and bustle is held at a minimum, and comfort and joy is found in sleep. this year, Christmas hasn’t been easy for me; and i hate that. i wish i could immerse myself in the frantic preparations and extravagant card, gift and gingerbread house making… but i haven’t been able to. i think that the first step (haha) is admitting it! talking about it. opening up myself just a little to the fact that this is hard, and i might not be alone.

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for anyone reading that might not know my story – about 18 months ago, we lost our 16 year old son Cory to suicide. (even as i type that, and even with a year and a half of living with it, it still seems like a bad dream). i miss him so so much – it’s crazy. i can’t dwell on missing him too much, or i would just be a puddle all the time.

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about 3 months ago, our oldest son left to serve a 2 year mission for the LDS church. He is living in Japan, and he is doing so great. he LOVES it. we get the most hilarious and joyful emails each week! I couldn’t be happier for him, or more grateful that he is loving his adventures!IMG_2251

and, i am sure that if you could get emails from heaven (wouldn’t that be amazing *insert a little joke about Steve Jobs being an angel and couldn’t he work that out?!) –the messages from Cory would also be amazing, hilarious and so full of HOPE and JOY! …. But the hole here, in my home… is still… different… and so it feels a little “imperfect”.

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the trick now, is to convince myself that “imperfect” is still WONDERFUL. while i am maybe not all the way there – as evidenced by the fact that I haven’t made a Christmas card, and there has been no holiday baking… my heart is softening and understanding, and love and hope has been silently and cautiously replacing sadness and loss. and trust me… love and hope, feels so much better than sadness and loss – and strangely, our hearts can feel it all at the same time.

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tonight i am going to be talking openly (live) for the first time about all these difficult feelings, and some of what I have learned along this very unexpected journey; transitioning from loss to hope. i will be joining a dear friend of mine, who also happens to be our family counselor, and mentor, David Kozlowski, on his new radio show.dave

David first started working with Cory almost 2 years ago, and has been helping us ever since. i couldn’t be more thankful for his insight, and support ; he’s an amazing human. in addition to his very fulltime practice , he runs “Quit Trip’n” which is a support group for teens. his agenda is “social health”; which is at the very core of our lives. it’s in everything that we do, and every relationship that we have – whether it’s face to face, or virtual. tonight we will be talking about CONNECTION and how it’s the secret weapon against depression, addiction, pain, sadness, isolation, and every other thing that holds us back and tries to stop us from being who we are meant to be! i want to invite you to join in by listening (you can download the ESPN 700 app) , or you can even watch the live feed via facebook. even though we will we discussing subjects that people don’t usually talk about – tough topics… i promise that it will be fun, and you will laugh (and maybe cry too). David has this way, of bringing light and laughter to difficult conversations – you will see.

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i’m a little nervous.

but because i know how IMPORTANT this subject matter is, and i believe that it needs to be addressed … i am going to talk about it. i want to help others who are struggling understand and learn. understanding doesn’t always make the pain go away, or make everything all better… but it allows the necessary changes to happen; changes that have to happen in our heart and our head.IMG_8645

ok, so there are 2 ways to listen, and I will be sharing this info with links more later as it gets closer to the airtime:

  1. you can download the ESPN 700 app. it’s a radio app, and you will be able to listen to the program on your smart phone live. (search it in the app store)
  2. we will simultaneously be broadcasting on Facebook LIVE so you will be able to see and hear us. https://www.facebook.com/quittripn/

the show is from 7-9 PM MST ; you can comment and add to the conversation via twitter and facebook.

i want to thank you ALL for your support. the connection that i feel with YOU has helped me through my most difficult times. it’s keeping me going, and moving forward, even on days that i just don’t even want to do anything. this life is not meant to be easy… but as long as we have one another- we can get through anything that life throws at us. to anyone that feels that his holiday season is “imperfect” for whatever reason, just know … you are not alone. you matter. your life matters. that whole “imperfection” is what this life is all about. keep going. keep smiling. keep believing. one day at a time.

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Category: Inspiration

About the Author : Heidi Swapp

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