Person wearing hoodie sweatshirt looking out over a lake under starlight

The busyness of the holiday season can easily overwhelm me. I have had to learn when to say ‘yes’ by knowing for myself what I need and what I can say ‘no’ to. I learned the hard way and in the past would over-extend myself; push through only to end up sick instead of being able to enjoy the season. Now I don’t travel far from home during that last week of December and things are as simple as can be because the time shared together with my girls is what is the most important for me. Playing games, binge-watching movies together, jigsaw puzzles, favourite meals and listening to the laughter are my priorities, not running about trying to please everyone or live up to expectations that no one really needs. Life has taught me to cherish what is really important to me and how crucial our relationships are because life is indeed fleeting. Losing the bubble of safety has given me the perspective to know what is essential to my life.

As a teenager I loved the big philosophical questions of life, meaning and existence. Turns out I still do!  However somehow I have forgotten to find the time for the contemplation of such existential inquiries. This year I am making it a priority to carve out time for me to reflect, to ruminate, to stay in some messy places that need attention and to ultimately celebrate who I have become. When Rob died I lost a huge part of who I am and it has taken me years for some of that old me to return as I have also grown and changed to who I am now. So it will be a gift to myself to actively pause and take the time to really think about where I’ve come, where I’m going and what I want. To give myself permission to be as honest as I can and as much as possible to withhold judgement. In essence, I will be holding space for myself and giving me the same opportunity that our Volunteer Family Guides provide for families.

I do anticipate some tears through the messy places along with some ‘aha’ moments of clarity and forgiveness both to myself and to others. Also some moments of laughter, joy and hope. For me this isn’t about setting any new year’s resolutions because thinking about the challenges and celebrating the achievements of the past while looking ahead is more about simply being true to myself. And that will be the first question in my list of ten questions.

  1. Am I being true to myself?
  2. Are there things I am taking for granted?
  3. What matters most to me?
  4. What do I need to let go of?
  5. Where am I feeling stuck?
  6. What am I allowing to overwhelm me?
  7. Where do I need to allow myself grace?
  8. What was I truly grateful for this year?
  9. How have I developed and changed as a person?
  10. How can I better take care of me?

As family members, whatever ‘normal’ our lives were is gone and we have to figure out how to navigate as best we can with our new normal. It is my hope for each of you that you are able to give yourself the gift of taking the time for you at this hectic time of year so filled with expectation and anticipation. To pause and truly allow yourself the grace to reflect and lose yourself to some introspection. If you have other questions please share them!

Kate Kennington

Kate Kennington

Kate Kennington is the Family Support Manager for Threads of Life. With a background in volunteer management and event planning, Kate oversees the peer support program of Volunteer Family Guides and is a family member herself.
Kate Kennington

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