Holidays hard after experiencing tragedy

My husband and I struggle around the holidays. Everywhere we look we see images of happy children.

Question: My husband and I struggle around the holidays.

Everywhere we look we see images of happy children.

We love kids, but we lost our young son several years ago and it’s sometimes hard to manage our emotions. Do you have any insight?

Answer: I am so sorry for your loss.

There are many others who have experienced similar tragedies.

For you and the others who have lost a precious child, the entire month of December is filled with its own peculiar variety of sorrow.

Cherubic faces and toys and televised cartoons only serve to intensify indescribable longings.

Hearing of your predicament, I’m reminded of a letter I received years ago from a man who has reason to understand this period of vulnerability.

His words, written to the memory of his daughter, revealed a father’s broken heart of love. But the note also contained a certain sense of triumph and blessing.

Apparently his little girl had suffered from an extended illness and together they had endured a long season of sorrow.

He wrote, “Bristol, now you are free! I look forward to that day, according to God’s promises, when we will be joined together, completely whole and full of joy. I’m so happy that you have your crown first.”

To this father I would say, “Thank you, sir, for sharing this most intimate note to your precious daughter.

“It made us feel that we have walked a few steps down the lonely road you have trod. Your indomitable spirit will strengthen and inspire others who harbor their own private sorrow during this season of celebration.

“There are millions who would identify with your travail, I’m sure.”

Because of what we celebrate at Christmas and later, Easter, death has no permanent victory over those who believe.

The grave has lost its sting. The trials and tribulations of this life are but momentary setbacks in light of an eternity of joy and bliss.

This is the true meaning of the season, and I pray that despite the unavoidable sadness of this broken world, that assurance might provide you with some measure of comfort.

Question: I’ve talked and talked to my husband about how I’m different from him and how I need him to be sensitive to my needs. Somehow, he just doesn’t “hear” it. I’ve also gotten mad at him about a hundred times. How can I get my feelings across to him?

Answer: One very effective way to express your feelings is to paint a word picture. My good friends Gary Smalley and Dr. John Trent described this technique in their book, The Language of Love.

In it, Gary told a story about his wife, who was very frustrated with him. Gary would come home from work and clam up.

He had nothing to say all evening. Finally, Norma told him a story about a man who went to breakfast with some friends.

He ate a big meal, and then he gathered up some crumbs and put them in a bag.

Then he went to lunch with some business associates and ate a big steak. Again, he put a few crumbs in a doggie bag to take with him. Then when he came home that night, he handed his wife the little bag of leftovers.

“That’s what you are doing to me,” said Norma. “All day the children and I wait to talk with you when you get home.

“But you don’t share yourself with us. After being gone all day, you hand us a doggie bag and turn on the television set.”

Gary said hearing that story was like being hit with a two-by-four. He apologized and began to work on opening himself to his wife and his family.

Try creating a graphic word picture to communicate your needs to your husband. It is far more effective at getting masculine attention than a torrent of hostile comments.

James Dobson is founder and Chairman Emeritus of the nonprofit organization Focus on the Family, Colorado Springs, Colo. 80995 (www.focusonthefamily.org).

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Buccaneers battle Wolfpack in AFL semifinal

The Central Alberta Buccaneers battled the Calgary Wolfpack in the Alberta Football… Continue reading

Raising awareness for Bikers Against Child Abuse

Second annual Raise A Ruckus Against Child Abuse was held at the Red Deer Radisson Hotel Saturday

Central Alberta Yogathon cancelled Saturday

Due to air quality concerns the fourth annual event will take place Sept. 15

City Hall Park construction begins next week

Construction to update Red Deer’s City Hall Park is set to begin… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Jazz at the Lake begins

The 16 annual event began Friday and runs until Sunday in Sylvan Lake

WATCH: Medicine River Wildlife Centre opens new playground

The grand opening of the playground was Saturday morning

Thousands to attend funeral service for officers killed in Fredericton shooting

FREDERICTON — Hundreds of people have lined the route of a funeral… Continue reading

Calgary police officer seriously injured

CALGARY — The Calgary Police Service says one of its officers was… Continue reading

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

MONTREAL — Canadian politicians are adding their voices to the international reaction… Continue reading

‘Four of a dozen kids will not make it:’ Tina Fontaine’s family healing together

WINNIPEG — Melissa Stevenson was just starting her career 18 years ago… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $16 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $16 million jackpot… Continue reading

Hundreds of neo-Nazis march in Berlin, protected by police

BERLIN — Hundreds of neo-Nazis waving flags with the colours of the… Continue reading

Romanian trucker is Genoa bridge’s 43rd victim

GENOA, Italy — The Latest on the Italy bridge collapse (all times… Continue reading

1 dead, 6 injured after building collapse in Nigeria capital

ABUJA, Nigeria — An emergency response chief says one person is dead… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month