Returning Home for the Holidays

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arrival-adelaideAhhh, holidays sweet holidays. A time to relax, kick back and take deep, deep breaths. This year, my family and I returned to my husband’s family home in Adelaide, Australia. As soon as I set foot out of the car at Vic’s parent’s house, my senses were flooded with the incredible smells of Fall. The sweet aroma of pine and lavender filled my head, and the sounds of crickets singing filled my ears. Oh, the sweet land of trees! Such a contrast to Tyre, Lebanon – where I live – which is a cement jungle. This only makes these Adelaide sensations all the more wonderful. I breathed deeply, capturing the moment and the memory.

I couldn’t help but remember the last time I arrived here. It wasn’t joyous, and I remember nothing of the smells. I was shut down, retracted into myself. I remember not wanting to get out of the car. I remember Vic’s folks coming over, tears in their eyes, to hug us. You see, the last time I was here, our beautiful daughter, Kateryna, was admitted to the hospital for overnight monitoring. Little did we know, she would never come home again.

That was almost 5 years ago, and this was my first time back. Vic and the kids have been back, but I’ve typically made excuses (aka smoke screens) about needing to work. This time, however, I was ready to breathe and move through the experience of seeing this house and the family again. I was mentally prepared, mentally strong enough to accept and ready to see joy in the present. I was going to breathe and let life unfold.

As we drove to Vic’s family home from the airport, I prepared myself, knowing that this was going to be really hard. I took calming deep breaths, gently and lovingly reminded myself to live here in the present and reminded myself that I have a choice to be either happy or sad. And when we arrived, I was present….right there in that moment.

I was happy for the smells. I was happy for the joyous laughter of the kids, for the loving hugs of grandparents to grandchildren and for the warmth and love that embraced my family and me. Sometimes, the gift of life is in letting go, in taking a deep breath and letting the moment be unpolluted by all that happened before. And yes, sometimes we have to consciously choose to do this.

It doesn’t mean that we’ve forgotten or that we don’t have pain. I can’t describe exactly how it feels. I only know that both homecomings have been integrated into my life and have played a role in molding my spirit and my being. I will never say that I’m grateful for my loss, but I have learned to live again. For that….I am truly thankful.

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10 thoughts on “Returning Home for the Holidays

  1. Thank you Allison for your transparency. I admire your courage, not only in the telling of your story but in your ability to face heartache with dignity and grace. All the best – always.

    • Thanks Gayle for your continued support! It isn’t easy to be open, to be exposed and to share but we are all stronger and more connected through the process. I am not an Island unto myself, I love this community we are building here and I love that together we are growing stronger, more connected, grounded and loving in who we are as our unique selves.

    • Hey Jackie, This article was totally from my heart, it’s nice to hear that the emotions came through. Writing this was also very therapeutic and hard because I allowed myself to go back and to feel the feelings of both experiences, very powerful.
      Big hugs!

  2. Hi Allison.
    Thank you for the very moving and inspirational words and insight.
    As mentioned by Gayle and Jackie you are inspiring….. and remind me constantly of what is most important in life.

    Thank you!!

    God Bless

    • Hi Heather, Thanks for sharing that the blog serves as a reminder of what is most important in life. This comment alone makes me so happy and grateful that I shared this post. Our children and our families are our life force. Hugs back at you!!

  3. What a beautiful blog. Thank you for sharing your journey with us all. I’m so glad you are where you are at this moment. I knew it has been a long painful journey. Congratulations.

    love you

    • Thank You Jen, It certainly has been a journey. You know the saying ‘if it doesn’t kill you it will make you stronger’ well I can definitely attest to this. Each day is a new day and I’ve come to understand that my baby girl will always be with me and it is up to me to choose how I want her life to be remembered and how it shapes my future. Your support and listening ear have been paramount in journey, thank you so much. Big hugs and love coming your way!!

  4. Allison, I so much respect and admire your emotional honesty. And congratulate you on your courage to return to Adelaide.

    • Hi Drea, Thank you so much for your comment! Opening up, sharing and being honest about my feelings does not come naturally to me, but moving myself out of my comfort zone is when I move into my healing zone. It is in this healing zone that peace and forward movement occur. In sharing we start to form community and a safe place to be ourselves. I honestly believe none of us are free from pain and emotional challenges but we can choose to lessen their impact and hold on us by opening up and allowing our feelings to flow through us.

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