Navigating Christmas Without A Loved One


“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.” 
Anne Lamott

Christmas is not always an easy time. There are many of us for whom Christmas brings stark reminders of families broken, loved ones lost, and empty chairs at our tables.

If you are navigating Christmas this year while also grieving loss or going through great struggle I want to reach out to you. In the midst of the barrage of happy Christmas movies, fairytale endings and Hallmark Moments I want you to know that I am sorry for your pain, and the hardship this time of year can bring. Please also know you’re not alone. There are many of us whose hearts hurt at Christmas, even as we celebrate, because of loss. If your grief is raw and new it’s also okay to put things on hold, to do things differently, or to let the anniversary days like Christmas slide by unacknowledged until you are ready to face them again.

I’d like to share something I do at Christmas that may be useful for you too. I have found it helpful and healing to make a private little Christmas Altar each year. This way I remember the dead, the absent, the lost. An altar is simply a small dedicated spiritual space that is meaningful to you in some way.

On my altar I place fresh flowers, a candle and some favourite crystals. Things that bring me comfort, and a sense of sacred. Then I place photos or objects that represent a loved one who will not be at my table. That way I can still have them near me, and I can flow love to them and have them be part of my life over the festive season.

The beautiful big owl in the photo above was given to me one Christmas by my friend Angela. She passed away a few years ago. It will be central to my display.

I’ll place a tiny wooden boat for my brother, and a ceramic pelican for my dad. A sparkly stone for my sister and roses for my mum and all of the women in her family who have shaped and grown and loved me. My family all live far from me. But now they are here on my altar even if they cannot be here in person.

I’ll add a photo of Ben’s parents from when they were young, and pictures of my grandparents too. I have cupcake-shaped candles for my darling Kate, who passed away too soon in 2010 ( I went back to her facebook page last night and was lost in there for an hour reading her old posts and laughing at what a dag she was and crying cos sometimes I still miss her more than breathing), and Julie who passed away in 2014. My Grandparents, all now passed, are here in photographs too and I will place a glass of sherry, Christmas Cake and some gingernut biscuits out because these are all the things they would have loved to eat, and later I will eat some and think of them. On Christmas Day I will play The Twelve Days of Christmas by the Ray Conniff Singers, because my Pa used to play that for us every year, and shed a few happy-sad tears.

It’s not the same as having them at my table, but it’s the next best thing. People coming to my house will think that I have simply gathered flowers and candles and photographs and a few ornaments together, but for me it is something healing and emotionally significant that helps me to feel the reassuring weight of my loved ones around me.

Perhaps making your own Christmas Altar will help you this Christmas too.

Sending so much love your way, Nicole ❤ xx

What to do when you’re forced to let go…

When you decide to let go, it empowers YOU. When we make the choice to let go, we change the dynamics of our lives, and by default, the lives of those around us.

So what happens if you are at the receiving end of letting go? We’ve all been there. Someone dies. We’re fired from our job. Our lover, partner, spouse ends our relationship.  A friend closes the door and says they don’t want us in their lives any more.  A family member stops speaking to us.

Our ability to respond, to change, to control, to continue, to hope…   it’s all taken away from us. We end up, we are sure, on the wrong side of the door. There’s no key. No one answers our knocks. Or worse, they shout for us to go away.

Whenever that happens we experience a kind of death. Whether it is a person who has passed over, or the end of something in our lives, there are phases we will go through.  Knowing that there are phases helps.  Then we can understand our emotions as a process.

The grief cycle looks like this:

In the aftermath of loss

Let yourself feel and honour what comes up for you. Be kind to yourself, and tolerant of your emotions.  Give yourself space to grieve and to heal.  Find support. Do what you can to nurture and uplift yourself. (abundant suggestions for self-nurture here) There is no denying that there will be pain. Loss is never fun. It’s not the season for that.

This sort of letting go, after the abrupt severance from the other end of the connection, is often harder at first than being the one who let go. At the point of consciously letting go, the other person has pulled back from you already.They knew what was coming.  It was their choice, and theirs alone, no matter how painful. You, at the receiving end, are gifted with  the frayed remains of something, the shock of the disconnect, the awful feeling of being DISEMPOWERED.

But wait.

We could get caught up in this sorry business here, but the longer we hold to it, the more we stay stuck in it.

Life changes.  Seasons come and go. Friendships, relationships, times in our lives – they all come to an end.  No one ever knows when a loved one will pass from our lives. The only thing we can know for certain is that change is inevitable, and that at some stage we will all die.

Allow yourself to grieve, and as you begin to emerge from grief, look for ways to continue living, ways to reconnect with family or community, ways to rediscover hope and gratitude. Know that when a loved one dies they are not lost to us, and that their love is enduring. I have seen so much of this in my work as a psychic, and it gives me incredible comfort.

And if your relationship has come to an end? If the job no longer wants you?

No matter how committed you were, no matter how much you gave, or loved, or tried…  it was no longer a good energetic fit.

Something had changed for the other person or party.  Maybe slowly, over a long time.  Maybe suddenly.  But with that knowledge, and that recognition of the lack of energetic fit, they drew back. One day they just woke up in bed with the wrong person and knew they couldn’t keep doing it  – and that person was you!

That’s so much of what the energies of 2012 are all about.  Change, dealing with change, creating change, growth. This year, especially, we will be compelled to change. The things that have no value, no integrity, no further use for us will be broken down.  Things that are unbalanced will need to come back into flow.

So if someone has closed the door on you? It means you are no longer an energetic match. One of you has changed enough that you no longer fit together. It leaves the ‘door-closer’ free to find a better match, or to stay unchanged if you are the one who is growing and evolving. Not everyone will embrace change and that’s okay.

More importantly, when a relationship ends, it leaves YOU free to connect to something that better honours you. Sometimes what feels terrible at the time turns out to be a Blessing in your life. The Universe has wisdom beyond anything we can ever understand.

So many times I have heard the story of a marriage ending, and then the person meets their life partner and soul mate. They continue to grow and evolve in ways that are healthy and positive.  They finally know contentment.

Publisher after publisher reject a novel.  Suddenly someone takes it up and it becomes a best seller. (This is reassuringly common!)

The job ends and the person takes a career change. Unexpected doors open, new directions unfold. Life opens out again. Life becomes more authentically matched to the talents and gifts of that person.

You get rejected from the University course you had your heart set on, go travelling and find a new love, a new direction, a new passion you didn’t know was in you.  You go from the misery of not ever being a Lawyer to the joy of being a Horticulturalist or a Pediatric Nurse where you KNOW it’s where you’re meant to be.

Life’s road has twists and turns.  Sometimes your companion on the road of life leaves. For a time you may need to walk solo.  But it’s a busy road.  Other walkers will be along.  Sometimes you will meet back up with the person you walked with before, and find your have both changed, both grown, and are able to come back together. Sometimes you’ll meet that person and they will be happily walking with a new companion, you’ll be walking with a new companion and you’ll breathe a sigh of relief that they are no longer in your lives. Often you’ll only discover and connect with your authentic self, and find your true direction, when you’ve walked a mile or two on your own.

We act as unknowing Angels in each other’s lives, helping each other find a path more suited to us. Sometimes we close the door.  Sometimes it is closed on us.  Life forks out in new directions.

The only thing you need to do is keep moving.  At some stage you need to pick yourself up from the floor, dust yourself off, and continue on the journey.  Who knows what adventure is around the corner?  Who knows what qualities you will find within yourself, what values you will come to hold dear? Who knows what companion might join you next?

There is a wisdom and a synchronicity within the Universe. We are loved and supported and guided at every turn. There is a season and a reason for everything, although this can be hard to see until we have walked further along the path and get to a place where we look back over our shoulder and finally understand.

Wishing you strength, courage and good cheer for the journey. Bless ♥ xx