Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, laaaa! Bah Humbug!!
This is the season for mixed emotions for many Service Members. Some are deployed far away from home for the umpteenth time, once again missing out on Mom’s Christmas sugar cookies. Or some Service Members took their oath to serve to escape a horrible family life. Let’s just be real – not everyone had a loving family life growing up.
Whatever your story, the holidays can bring about some mixed emotions, short bouts of depression, self-doubt, or even thoughts of suicide. I know first-hand because I’ve experienced this for myself. You can imagine, in my 22 year career in the Army, I’ve missed a holiday or two or 100! Over time I created a holiday survival routine that helped me when I was unable to make it home for the holidays:
Stay connected to family. The holidays are an ideal time for us to connect with family, this is true. Family ties can be based on biological, marital or your military family. YOU choose who you want to bless with your presence over the holidays. Which family makes you the happiest? Once you figure that out, then plan to spend time with them. Whether live and in person or over the phone, make the most of family time and cherish every opportunity to connect and strengthen family bonds.
Faith will take you far. My faith was the one constant I had throughout my military career. I was raised in the church so I believed there was a God. When I looked back over my life, where I began and how far I had traveled – I knew God loved me. Because of this belief I reached out for Him often, especially during the holidays. My faith comforted me during those deployments and separations from my family during the holidays.
Reflection helps you remember the Good Times! The holidays have also been a time of reflection for me. Like I mentioned earlier, my beginnings were humble – I remember receiving Christmas gifts from the Salvation Army as a young girl in New York. Even today those memories bring a smile to my face because that organization and small gesture brought joy to my life. When I was unable to travel home for the holidays, I always found time to sit and reflect on the years gone past. I’d think about the fun, laughter and love that I shared with my family and I looked forward to the next opportunity for us to get together.
I married into a loving family, have a wonderful husband, two great children and an awesome grandson, am the oldest child of a family of six, both my parents are still alive and my last surviving grandmother turned 94 this year. And our family continues to grow with a host of nieces and nephews and cousins. Family is everything to me. This includes my military family as well because I have lifelong #BattleBuddies who I consider family – we’ve deployed together, laughed and cried together, and even vacationed together. These are the people that keep me going over the holidays.
#BattleBuddy create your own holiday survival rituals to keep those emotions under control and winter depression at bay. And if you find yourself separated from those you love and care about over the holidays take steps to connect with them, keep the faith that one day you will be reunited, and reminisce on holiday memories of the past. You may soon find yourself smiling and humming a holiday tune – ‘Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, laaaaa…’
#SeasonalBlues #SoldierSurvivalGuide #Family #BattleBuddy