With the hustle and bustle of the season at its peak, travelers are packing their bags, checking weather reports and buying last minute gifts before taking to the roads and skies. Meanwhile, others are thawing turkeys, baking cookies, preparing guest rooms and counting the minutes until their friends and family arrive. Whether you are doing the visiting or being visited, joyful anticipation can be found on either side of the equation.
For some, the journey home for the holidays is a bit more complicated.
I remember being a young Army wife with a deployed husband, two small kids and thousands of miles separating me from the people I loved most. The snow and ice were heavy that year, making a trip through the mountains too dangerous to attempt. Although more than a decade has passed, I can still recall the homesickness I felt that year.
Looking back, I realize it wasn’t a place I was yearning for, it was a feeling. More than anything, I wanted to be surrounded by the love of my tribe.
As wonderful as this time of year truly is, it can also be extremely difficult for the brokenhearted. Grief and loss are amplified during the holidays, making the void left behind by lost loved ones almost unbearable. Servicemembers deployed to distant, and often dangerous, lands will not awaken to their families on Christmas morning. Divorced parents will shuffle their children back and forth, as dictated by court ordered visitation schedules, making their best efforts to keep a brave face, despite the pain. Many elderly men and women will spend their holidays alone, with nothing more than the nostalgia of yesteryear to reflect upon. We must remember these souls as we bask in the glow of our celebrations.
Take a moment this holiday season to stop and look around. If you are fortunate enough to be surrounded by noise and laughter and chaos, savor it. Look up from your devices, turn off the TV, make eye contact, give hugs, express gratitude and, most importantly, make memories. You are home. You are blessed. You are loved.
Whether it’s an actual place or a collection of memories made up of treasured sights, sounds, smells and tastes from Christmases past, we all go home in December.
From my home to yours, Merry Christmas!
Jennifer Walker owns Osmosis Marketing Solutions, a Gallia County business specializing in PR, marketing and social media management.