Okay, I have to admit our family was surprised by the presidential election. We were divided, some members voted for Clinton, some for Trump and others wrote in a candidate and one didn't even vote. Emotions have run high, but in the end I believe that for us family unity will win out.
At our home for many years we have celebrated with one less teenager and so we are reminded that life is short and unpredictable. In some ways, the death of our son/brother left us a gift in that it reminds us of what is truly important. An election will pass and our wonderful country will regain its equilibrium, but how many holidays are left for all of us to share together? It seems especially important this year to give ourselves the gift of suspending judgment just for a few hours or days in order to celebrate our freedom and diversity of spirit. We might take a cue from our youngest daughter who has suggested that during the holidays we make family events politically free zones.
Gift of Loss
The idea that loss can leave a gift, of course, is a difficult concept for those who have suffered loss recently. I fully understand, as the first of everything is tough. Sitting down at a festive dinner with one less person. Finding there is no need to please a loved one by mashing the potatoes rather than whipping them or not hearing a voice say, " mom don't put the milk on the table until the very last minute so that it will be cold." Grandma's salad is no longer made by grandma but is made to honor her memory. You can no longer call your big sister to get her roll recipe. So what is the precious gift that we receive from loss? It is that time is limited and too precious to squander on what could have been.
The moment is now and here some are things you can do to ease the family through this special Holiday Season:
- Agree to disagree - Respect the right of everyone in the family to have his or her opinion. Recognize that you have little or no chance to change a political opinion and why would you want to.
- Use temperance - Alcohol and drugs should be used sparingly as they give one an inflated sense of the importance of one's opinions.
- Take a news break - The liberal and the conservative press can bring up fresh feelings and opinions that cause discord in the family.
- Share tasks - Make a list and let others help with holiday cooking and events.
- Limit political talk - Tell family members in advance that this is a Politically Free Event. Some may think this is a joke but stick to your guns.
- Excuse yourself - If you feel yourself getting upset take a walk around or head for the safe haven of the bathroom.
- Get rest and exercise - Fatigue is a sure recipe for disaster when getting together with politically diverse family members.
- Be selective - If you know that politics will be discussed and you are not up for it don't go to the event, but make sure you tell people well in advance.
- Have an escape plan - Make sure you take your own car or use a taxi or Uber so you can leave when the discussions begin to wear on you.
Have a happy and peaceful holiday and visit us and our family at www.opentohope.com and if you have lost hope please lean on ours until you find your own.