Happy and Healthy New Year!

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a very Happy New Year and to thank you for supporting Camp Erin Parents over the past few months! 2012 will be a great year for us, no doubt! We will be expanding our content, resources and connections all in an effort to support each other through our losses and to share our inspiring stories.
The holiday season is tough no matter how long it’s been, and many of us struggle through it. Then the new year comes and we are faced with accepting that 2012 is already upon us. Some of us look at the upcoming year as a welcome end to the holidays, while some of us are reminded of the upcoming 365 days we have to live without our loved ones.
How do you handle / manage the holiday season? Are there special traditions you do to remember your loved one? Do you avoid the holidays and wish someone would wake you when they’re over? I think it’s important that we share our stories, our struggles and our ideas so that we can make a difference in other’s lives. The last time I posted, I shared my idea on making ornaments out of my husband’s Christmas stocking so that every year, our family members could hang the ornaments on their trees in remembrance. I’d love to hear some more ideas and inspiring stories that have helped you though this season and into the New Year.
The New Year for me has become a time of renewal. I’m not a fan of “resolutions” to be quite honest. I don’t like to feel forced to give something up that I enjoy. Instead for me, I pledge to improve myself and my surroundings by doing good things for myself and others. This year we will be going to church more often and I will finally start writing that book I’ve been meaning to write for the last 5 or so years. I think my perspective on “improving” for the new year all stemmed from the time when my husband was sick. Every time a birthday rolled around for him, he would celebrate it to the fullest. He truly understood that each birthday that you get on this earth is a gift and you’d better be thankful for it! Hearing that year after year, and especially as his health began to deteriorate, I realized that I had better stop stressing about the years that were going by and start focusing on getting better with age! I resolve every New Year and every birthday now, to improve myself physically, mentally and spiritually so that I can be a better parent to my kids. They deserve a mom who takes care of herself so she can in turn take care of them. They deserve a mom who is present in the moment, who can show them that it’s ok to laugh and smile and cry. They deserve a mom who appreciates the days she is given and makes the most out of them, no matter how hard that actually is. That is my “resolution”… to be the best parent and the best example I can possibly be.
There’s a great poem that I refer to often by Elayne Clift that is called, “After the Epiphany” that helps me keep things in perspective:

“I still rise every morning
and brush my teeth.
Sometimes I complain
if the coffee is cold
or the soup is too hot.
I often wish
I were five pounds thinner
and didn’t have lines
tugging at the edge of my lips.
I get tired.
I feel angry.
I worry about my kids.
I want people to call back,
and things to work
the way they should.
I daydream about places
I’d like to go,
and things I ought to have said.

But now,
I linger in the morning
just so I can listen
to wind whispers,
and the joyous cacophony
of bird songs.
I walk with my eyes open
and my head up,
and I watch
the ballet of tree boughs.
I touch the roses.
I smell the dew
upon their velvet lips.
I sit by myself for long hours
and never feel lonely.
I work, calm.
I wait for spirit voices
to soul-talk.
I know that to be alive
is everything.
I rejoice.”

So what are you doing differently this New Year? What positive things does 2012 have in store for you and what are you doing to make a difference? I’m really looking forward to hearing some new ideas and a positive start to 2012!
-Sheila

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