TIME OUT WITH LOIS: Christmas a difficult time for anyone who has experienced loss

My heart goes out to many of you this Christmas who have experienced loss. A dear friend said, “It has been 13 years and I can still have meltdowns.” That is the nature of grief. You can be sailing along doing fine and then a wave hits. Wednesday was one for me. I was awake all night. Then God once again in His faithfulness lifted me up. I can and am rejoicing in all of the joy of Christmas. I pray the same for you. (Read Lamentations 3:22-26.)

Lois Olmstead


For you to understand, we need to go back 606 days to April 28, 2016, when He-Who-Took-Long-Steps went to heaven. On May 18 in this column I listed the things I had learned in the first 20 days: 

1. On our washer control panel is a “Small Loads” choice. I switch to it now.   

2. Watching the nightly news at 10 p.m. is no fun when the chair next to yours is empty. You can’t debate issues or discuss the weather.

3. I find I can cry buckets of tears and an hour later get the giggles recalling a story he told. 

4. Can He-Who hear me? You see, our nearly new microwave quit two days after the funeral. I called our home builder. He said, “Did you fill out the warranty card?” I said, “No I did not but my husband always did.” He said “Great, we’ll replace it this week.” I hollered “Thank you!” to He-Who. Did he hear me?

On June 16, Day 50: One of the hardest things on this path for me so far is the loss of our conversations. Married 54 years, He-Who and I talked lots; however, in the car traveling, sometimes not so much. I’d say, “What are you thinking?” and he’d say “About what?” and I’d say “About anything.” And he’d answer, “Nothing. I’m just driving.” That boggled my mind. When driving I solve world problems. I solve problems that aren’t my problems to solve and he is just driving? I am sure a patrolman would like him better than me, but just driving?

A month later I had to sell two vehicles and get a car. Our youngest son, Ross, helped me to make the deals (like his dad). Our storage units had to be emptied. Our middlest son Kevin with grandsons Tracy and Tyler loaded and unloaded 40 totes of heavy shop stuff to get it home (on their day off!). Todd, our oldest, took a week of vacation to come finish the garage rooms, fix fences and give me furnace filter lessons. I am so thankful for my family. Remember when I was gone on a speaking trip to Maine and came home to find they had painted our house?

Sept. 15 would have been our 55th anniversary. I seem to hear He-Who telling me to “be brave” when I see a couple holding hands or when I sit alone in our pew remembering how many years we shared the joy of attending church together. Yes, normal days. I am so thankful for every day together, the days we liked each other and the days we didn’t. I write a letter to him each night before I go to sleep — it helps me somehow.

Oct. 6, after 175 days, I realize the inside of our refrigerator looks pathetic. No leftover roast beef, no crisper full of fruit that he would buy. Today I found a brick of blue-green, rock-hard cheese. I should check the refrigerator more often.

Dec. 27, 2016: Oh my goodness, this is much harder than I thought it would be. Signing my name alone on Christmas cards has caused floods of tears.

April 28, 2017, one year, 365 days: I could not have made it one day without God’s care for me, and all of you helping me along this path.

Now we are back around to another Christmas, and I miss him so very much. Next week I will tell you about the Longest Night service that comforted me so much. Until then, I want to give you a Christmas gift. It was He-Who’s favorite Bible verse, John 8:12. “I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 

That is a Gift of Hope that Christmas celebrates. And it is for you and He-Who and me that Jesus came.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Lois Olmstead is an inspirational speaker and author who lives in the Shields Valley. Email her at loiso@wispwest.net or visit www.timeoutwithlois.com.