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Grief and Frosty the Snowman


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There is a song on the radio at this time of year, sung by the Carpenters, called “Merry Christmas, Darling.”  The first Christmas after Phil died, hearing this song sent me into fits of tears.  Not the sweet, sad, nostalgic type of tears—these were the hitting my hands on the dashboard or kicking my bed, angry, unreasonable type of tears.  Every time the song came on I wanted to scream at the beautiful voice on the radio, because the sentiment was so infuriating.  The lyrics proclaim that every day is a holiday with the one you love, so even if you aren’t together on Christmas Eve…no worries, you can be together in your dreams.  At that point I was way beyond wanting to spend Christmas with Phil in my dreams! What I wanted was to hold him, to feel his warm breath on my cheek, and to sit on the couch, side by side, sipping coffee while the kids opened their gifts on Christmas morning.


Every holiday tradition felt like a chore.  Determined to check off each task on the holiday list, I dutifully put up outdoor lights—crying yet again when I discovered how meticulously Phil had packed away the lights.  The kids and I dragged the tree into the house, but the glittering lights seemed to emphasize my gloominess.  Opening a storage box, I found old Christmas cards full of cheerful greetings and good wishes.  I sighed out loud as I read each one, thinking of how radically our lives had changed in only 365 days.  One evening I reached into the bottom of the last plastic bin, and pulled out “Frosty.” Phil was famous in our family for the dance he did when Frosty, who played “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” at the push of a button, made his holiday debut.  Phil’s dance included booty shaking, heel tapping, and all manner of silliness—unfailingly reducing the whole house to gales of laughter.  No one could look at Frosty without giggling, because Phil’s dance was so outrageous.  The kids would even try to get him to perform for their friends; they were always thrilled when he was successfully talked into a crowd pleasing dance recital.  Sitting in front of the Frosty box alone, my sorrow surrounded me and filled me with self-pity.  All the things I missed most about my husband were represented by that stupid box. His love of life, his absolute adoration of silliness, his ability to be completely in the moment, and his constant attempts to keep me laughing—my world was so empty without him, and there was a huge void in my life where joy used to reside.  While I sat contemplating how awful my life had become since Phil’s death, I absently reached over and pushed Frosty’s button. Even through my tears I could not suppress the smile that Frosty’s song brought to my face.  It was as if Phil was standing right in front of me, in all his holiday glory, telling me to wipe my tears and accept the joy the holiday season still offered.  Spontaneously I recreated my husband’s holiday jig—that night Phil and I danced together, right in the middle of the kitchen.  I could see his big smile and feel the warmth of his love with every note that the silly toy snowman warbled.  Plopping down in my seat at the end of the song—breathless and a little surprised—I felt a glimmer of joy for the first time in months.


The next time “Merry Christmas, Darling” came on the radio, I knew I needed to make peace with my inner Scrooge. As the opening cords played I sat quietly and really listened.  This time I heard a new message.  Phil and I can no longer physically share the same couch on Christmas morning, but the memory of the many precious moments we shared over the years is mine forever.  In the years since his death, those memories have become like daydreams…just a thought away.  I will have Christmas with Phil in my dreams for the rest of my life.  There are still days when my heart aches with the need to feel his touch, and I often find the jolliness of the holidays to be bittersweet, but whenever I feel a hole developing in my soul, I fill it up with a holiday jig and the love of the man who can still make me smile.  Phil’s playful spirit reminds me that joy is a gift of the moment.  I’ve learned to take each moment as it comes, some are sad, others are filled with an intense longing for what used to be, but I can truly say that many are filled with wonder at all that God still has in store for me and gratitude for the unexpected blessings of the last two years.  These days, at least once or twice during the holiday season, I drift off to sleep whispering to the man who lives on in my dreams…Merry Christmas, darling.


~Michele Neff Hernandez

  Director, Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation

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Dear Members,

We are excited to mention that we are moving to a more new and improved message boards on MONDAY MORNING AUGUST 9th! The boards will be done for a few hours while we are making the conversation. Remember we posted information about this move a month ago. For some of you this might seem a bit sudden,  but when we were reviewing the site we determined the current message board you are using is out of date and the company that designed it is no longer in existence. The good news is this new message board will have new features that have been requested in the past like more fields we can add to your profiles and a chat room up to 20 people at one time. If we find the chat room is bursting at the seams we will add additional room for extra people. All your old posts, private messages and such will be migrated to the new message board. You might have to put up your profile picture again but not sure. The new company will be doing the migration for us. Here is a short list of some of the new features on the board:

- Custom Profile Fields

- Users can customize their profile pages by selecting a background color or background image, with tiling options.

- Facebook and Twitter Integration

- users can respond to multiple posts at once with "mini-quote"

- Pinned discussion threads - like welcome to our board etc.

- Announcements made across some boards or the entire message board

- Search: Users can easily find all content generated by a particular member, by clicking the 'Find Content' button that appears on the main profile page, or in the Mini Profile Popup which can be accessed throughout the board. The results page allows content to be filtered by application, as well whether the member created it or merely participated in it.

- Privacy: allows users to sign in anonymously, hiding them from the online users list. Users also have the option to disable personal conversations and user-to-user emails, as well as ignore other users if necessary.

The next exciting piece of news about the new message board is it will have a new domain name of www.grieving.com for search engine optimization purposes. It will still be apart of Beyond Indigo and can be found through www.beyondindigo.com. We will be redirecting your current URL's to this new domain name but we might miss a few. If that is the case simply go back to www.grieving.com or www.beyondindigo.com to find your message board thread. We will try to make the transition as seamless as possible.

The bottom line is the new board will give us room to grow our community and more options to interact better with each other.

If you have any questions please direct them to feedback@beyondindigo.com.

Kelly Baltzell, MA


Beyond Indigo Family

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