FEATURE - December 2018
Loneliness During the Holidays
By Traci Bray
Have you experienced a significant holiday on your own? If you are extremely people-oriented, likely not. If you’re introverted, possibly you have endured an otherwise celebratory day in solitary quiet and comfort. Then there are those who are in either of the previous camps who have:
· Insufficiently planned, or lack a plan
· Sincerely are absent of awareness of holiday approaching.
Thus, the holiday passes as just another-day, or, so they say.
In writing this article, randomly over time I asked people during the early Fall about their most meaningful December holidays. Among the many interesting stories were:
A single woman told me of a Christmas that included no plans for being with people. This approach had gone on for several years in a row. It had become routine, albeit a routine with a slight edge of discomfort. But this particular year she was invited to join a friend, his partner, and their extended families for a Christmas Eve dinner.
Uncharacteristically, she agreed, reporting that that Christmas was one of her best ever. In contrast to decades of her family Christmas’ consistently contentious doings, this meal filled the dining room with laughter, memories, and of wishes to come. In turn, I knew one of the hosts of this particular function, and asked, “What was the primary element you considered in including her in your celebration?”
The host replied, “We’ve known her for more than 20 years. Over and over she spends holidays, birthdays, and likely most days alone. We respect her solitude, yet it was we who wanted to experience the joy of her. She always has added an element of the joyful ‘unknown’ to our home.”
Another woman startlingly reported a holiday season following a bitter break-up with a long-term boyfriend. She was planning on remaining in her chosen city of residence, hundreds of miles from her birth family’s Hanukah plans. Bearing the happiness and depth of celebration that traditionally surrounded those plans was something she did not think she could bear. A friend of hers, astute to her circumstances, included her in his family plans.
In total candor she said, “Had I not attended that gathering, I truly fear for what might have become of me.” In years of retrospect she continued, “As I look back on that time, my anxiety was dramatically high and rapidly increasing. I had always demonstrated a sense of personal balance and well being. This was the first holiday season I had been without a partner in more than 20 years. I felt like a total, barren failure—no spouse, and no children produced. I saw myself at that time as negligent in even being able to hold onto a partner for a sustained time. For the first time ever, suicide entered my thinking as a potential solution to my negative self-perceptions.” Her choice to attend, and furthermore, enjoy, the gathering, she credits as having signaled her choice to move forward with living.
At the same above-mentioned get-together, a middle-aged man was in attendance by invitation, and not a family member. He had recently revealed his new approach to live as an openly gay man. His parents and two of his three siblings had informed him in no uncertain terms that his presence at their family’s celebration was not welcomed. That was, it was not welcomed until, “…things settled down some,” regarding his announcement. He credits the social invitation as a hopeful sign that people who loved him regardless of his life choices, were present and active in his life. That holiday celebration, a decade-plus later, is the one that he includes as most, “…deeply memorable.”
In contrast, when the couple hosting the event above was asked if there was a triggering moment when they decided to invite their female friend suffering the break-up to partake in their holiday, the reply was, “We both agreed that something felt different—or more importantly—off. We act on those moments, not at all needing to know the why of it, and insisted on including her.” The decisions to invite, and to attend, were clearly life-saving. Regarding the man, the other host implored the, “…hateful and hurtful reception he received from his family, regardless that he expected it, was in-fact devastating. We were delighted to have him join us as we have always loved him as our friend. His presence enriches our lives,” as they looked at each other continuing, “…and the lives of our children.”
At this time of year, a plethora of lovely stories exist about inclusion of the disenfranchised:
· Homelessness – Homeless for Christmas by Daniel W. Bates
· Imprisonment – The 5 Best Items to Send to Your Loved One in Prison by Christopher Zoukis
· Military and/or those serving at war - Silent Night: The Story of the WWI Christmas Truce by Stanley Weintraub
· The Impoverished – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
· Those Grieving – The 13th Gift, by Joanne Huist Smith.
Reading or sharing these materials promotes the spirit of giving and of gratitude. Self reflection is a bonus opportunity, particularly effective if used in planning for the new year to come.
A variety of ways to show gratitude include:
• Give Money – depositing a five-spot or a $50 bill in the red kettle can be very satisfying from the perspective of the giver, and well-used by the recipient organization
• Volunteer Year-Round – volunteers at the holidays of Thanksgiving and in December can be viewed as ‘pesky’ at times by organizations, believe it or not. Training and organizing a throng of enthusiastic one-occasion time donors can be overwhelming for personnel already stretched. Thus, choosing another ‘time,’ or even better, ongoing commitment, can be more greatly appreciated. A volunteer recruiter once told me, “The last Friday in June,” with the emphasis on the word ‘day,’ “was when we really needed them (the volunteers); not on Thanksgiving DAY.”
• Inclusion in thought/prayer
• Organize a Giving Event of supplies, like a ‘shower’ among employees, friends, or family.
As a psychic Medium (one who connects with the dead and has the ability to ‘see’ past/present/future), I often channel messages for my Facebook followers. A channeled message is one where I ask Spirit (the dead, Angels, guides, teachers, etc.), for words that focus on a particular topic. In closing, the following is what I received when I asked for comment on gratitude:
“When one has things so together that they just cannot fall asleep, self review must reflect on the benefits to the recipients of their achievements and good will. If there are none, further self-review is most necessary. For most of your people, giving comes naturally, be it through words, deeds and service, or through thoughts. Congruent, in-sync motion of ‘give’ is simply what makes your World go ‘round. ‘Receive’ is equally a piece of that quotient.”
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Traci Bray, BS, MA is a psychic Medium residing in Kansas City. She serves as a Certified Research Medium with the coveted Windbridge Research Center in Tucson, one of five organizations in the world using Mediums for study. She is available for in-person and phone sessions, as well as for groups. Find more about her at https://www.tracibray.com She posts nearly daily at