Episode 40: Finding Healing Through the Holidays
The Holiday Season brings a lot of joy and a lot of pain and sadness for many who have gone through or are going through hard times. This episode covers the heartache as well as talks about finding or making a healing home regardless of what’s missing. There is peace and pain all rolled up in one as we navigate life’s experiences.
And you know that this has been difficult coming up with this episode, I reached out to you on Instagram and Facebook to get some ideas. Because for whatever reason, things weren't coming to me. As I was pondering and meditating and doing my routine of trying to figure out what you need to hear. I guess I felt blocked kind of like writer's block, but podcast block. And I really just don't want to say stuff to you make it up. If I'm not inspired, your ideas came in.
And I appreciate them so much, so many different things that you want me to cover. And I'm sure over the weeks and months, we will probably cover them all. But right now what I'm going to talk about is it's almost Christmas. And there are so many feelings that happened during Christmas, there is positive things, there are Christmas lights and Christmas music and there are happy giving and this feeling of joy that can be in our soul. There's also pain, if we experience something hard or traumatic, we carry so much burden.
I was thinking back about Christmas time on my entire life. And I grew up loving Christmas. My family loves Christmas, my parents were strong believers in giving Christmas away. And we would do something like that every year where we would find somebody who needed something. And we would do that I've carried that on with my kids through the years. And then one year, all of a sudden, I became a single mom. It was December of 2015.
My husband at that time had been gone since August, and I was the sole caregiver of my children with no break. And with nobody helping me at that time. I was financially supported somewhat, because I had divided the bank account before filing divorce. But it was certainly stressful times. And it was not easy. And here we were going into the holiday. And I was feeling so overwhelmed. When you go through something hard you are living in this fog, and you have to do things that you would never have done by yourself.
Even the Christmas shopping, I did it a lot by myself before because I like to find things. But I still knew I had support. I still knew if I wanted someone to go with me, he was there. And now all of a sudden I'm doing things on my own. I remember feeling so unsure, our neighborhood was having a hot chocolate gathering outside. And instead of doing neighbor gifts, we were bringing money and putting it all together. And then somebody was going to be in charge of deciding who that money went to or how they would divide it with people who needed it.
And so here I was, I don't have anybody at this time, it only been a few months. And I wanted to be strong and go to this thing. But I had so much anxiety to like be out there. And nobody knows what to say when somebody is newly divorced. And there's a few people that did a few of my friends and neighbors that could say something to me, but so many people don't know what to do. And I don't blame them because I was once in their shoes. So it's a nerve wracking experience to be in front of a lot of people when you're in this new situation of trauma.
So I went out there and I didn't have much to give at that point. That also made me sad because everything changed. It was like I was no longer allowed to be and do the same things that went on to obviously change my mindset and God taught me the things I needed to learn and how to be humble and how to accept things. But on that particular event. I'm out there. I'm with everybody. It felt good to laugh. It felt good to be surrounded by friends. It felt good to give my $20 donation to the pot and feel like I was doing something even though it wasn't what I was used to. That felt good at the same time.
I had This feeling inside of just emptiness. There was like this lump in my throat and chest. And I felt like I was in a fog, I felt like I was just slightly hovering above the ground with unsure feelings. And just a chaotic sense that I had. It was just, I don't know how to explain it, it felt heartbreaking. I felt alone, even though I was surrounded by all these people.
As I left that night, I was just two houses in on the cul-de-sac. And this house that we had this gathering outside was just across the street, and it was the corner house. So I'm talking like barely across the street, I had to walk to go home. But just walking to go home, I was trying to hold back the tears, I was so emotional, it was so painful to be out there by myself, it was so hard to be doing all of this alone and not knowing how I was going to.
So there were these mix of feelings of goodness, because I felt good being there. And I was happy that people were nice to me and all was well. And then this other feeling of pain and sadness. And I feel like that's kind of a lot how this journey has been for me two different feelings, both positive and negative, that are colliding, and kind of sometimes constantly at odds, they can exist together, they have to, when we're in situations like that, we have to be able to find the positive, we have to be able to change our heart and learn and grow.
So there has to be both that next day, I get a knock at my door. And it is a couple of the neighbors and they brought me $500 from our neighborhood neighborhood get together. I was shocked. And in awe, I felt so grateful. They just wanted to make sure I knew I was cared for and that I had some money to do Christmas with. And I hadn't been on the receiving end of that before.
I wasn't sure I wanted to be I didn't know how to take it, yet, It felt so good like a gift from God just to tell me that I was not trying to navigate this alone, that he was aware of me and that he knew that this would help me just feel safe, and loved and cared for. That was that first Christmas of divorce. Something else happened that first Christmas that was I don't know just so crazy. And so typical of trying to fight for finalizing a divorce and trying to get it to be set.
Usually, I have always bought a real tree. And I decorate it in the colors that I do. And then I have another tree that is a fake flocked white tree and all my kids ornaments. Go on that tree. I've been giving my kids ornaments every year since the time they were born. so that they could then have a box of their own to make their own tree if they chose to. And so we would do two trees in the house. But this year here, I am single, there's no way I'm gonna go out and pick up a real tree, put it on my car, and try to get that thing in my house.
And I still was feeling super unsure. Yes, my neighbors were helpful. They were kind and loving and trying to help me. But I wasn't to that place where I felt like I wanted to ask anybody either. That was my own thing I could have but I chose not to. And so I gave up the idea of having a real tree, I grew up having a real tree. So it had I had never had a fake tree as my main tree ever. I felt lost. I felt like this is not the same. This feels like something else has been taken from me. And I know when you look at it, it's just a tree. Right? It means nothing. But it doesn't those moments when everything seems not secure those few things in your life that feel secure, and they're not there. It just changes things. And I think it's because I was on edge.
And it was because I was in trauma that some of those things would have felt good. But there was this one night when my soon to be ex husband at that time came over. And he came into the garage and he was looking for some stuff. And I went out there. And we started talking and I don't remember the specifics of the conversation. But at that point, he was really spiraled and hadn't been doing well hadn't really seen my kids at all up to that point only for like, an evening.
And that's it. And he was going off and mocking and belittling and just trying to tell me how I was going to do things, what I was supposed to be doing and I use my boundaries and said no. He wanted to come and go whenever he wanted. He wanted to be able to walk in the house when he wanted it. I'm like Absolutely not. You're not allowed to walk in this house. Anyway, I was really on edge and just kind of freaked out and I told him he needed to leave and get out. And he went out of the garage and I shut it and I walked into my house.
I ended up making a post about this back in December of 2015. And I'm going to add the picture of it, I took a picture of it posted it and I'll add it to Facebook and Instagram so you can see. But this is what I wrote. "I just had the craziest experience. And when I walked inside my house, this is what I saw. My beautiful Christmas tree that I reluctantly agreed to a Christmas movie playing and my dog happily laying on a blanket licking her paw. The tree I've had my entire adult life has always been a real tree. And I decorated and gold and red and green. My kids tree is set up also in another area of the house.
This year, I needed to simplify. So the kids tree is in the family room, and I let go of having a real one. It broke my heart at first. But now I just have to say, when I walked in, I felt whole. This tree is filled with my children's memories. Each ornament was given to them by someone who cares about them or made by them. It's so beautiful, better than any real, perfectly placed ornamental tree that I could have had. I felt peace and love and happiness. I feel so much gratitude for where I'm at today and the knowledge that God stands by me and knows with exactness how to lead me.
I am the luckiest my god is awesome. He takes the crazy shake your head what the heck experiences and turns them into light. Tonight, I love my family room. And I love even more the hands that decorated that tree and the love we have for each other." I share that with you. Because amidst the chaos of the holiday season when you're going through something hard when your family doesn't look the same as it did last year, when you've lost somebody important to you, whether from divorce or death, or children that you've lost.
There are really peaceful moments alongside that heartache. There are times when it just shows you Oh yeah. I'm going to be okay. This feels okay. There was something different about that Christmas. And even though there was something missing, it also felt so good. It felt good to just be with my children. We made our own memories. On Christmas Eve day we went ice skating, we came home, we decorated gingerbread houses, we did our normal Christmas Eve that we do. And we celebrate it together. There's been a few more Christmases since.
And you know, I also two years after that I was married for a short time that marriage had ended. And Christmas was just around the corner. And here I was in a new place in a home that I found, which is so cool how I found it. It was one of those weird things when you're looking for a rental house and nothing comes up or you try to find something it ends up being a scam. There's just all these little things that were crazy about it. And this particular house, I drove by it. It was in this older community. It wasn't a 55 and older neighborhood. But it could have been it looked like a Florida house. But it wasn't in Florida.
It was in southern Utah. And it just was right on this golf course it was this small white house with a red Tile Roof had palm trees in the front and in the back of it. And it was just sweet. It was old, and the appliances were old but I saw it I hadn't even seen the inside. And I knew it was my house. It was one of those things It was hard to get it started out from a scam. This guy wanted me to send him money. And then he would send me the key. And I'm like, that doesn't sound right. So anyway, I figured it out. And I got in contact with the real owner.
I went to see it. And this happened to be a man in his 70s I believe. And he was helping his daughter who own the house, manage it. And he was there. I walked through I knew it was mine. We started talking. He told me what the rent was. And I said Oh, okay. I said if there's any way that your daughter can go down a little bit, then I can rent this house, but I can't rent it for that. There's just no way. I can't do it. I have my I have two kids living with me still and it would be impossible. He called his daughter and he's like, I really think we should rent our house to this woman. She said I don't think I can he got off the phone with her.
And he just started asking me questions. And he asked me what I do. And I said, Well, I just finished writing a book. And I'm going to be publishing it here in just a short time. And he goes, What's your book on? So I tell him that it's on addiction and being the spouse of an addict and he starts sharing his story with me how he was married for so long to his wife who struggled with addiction that he's been through all the 12 step for families, and how in the end he had to let her go because she just wouldn't choose recovery and he got away motional and he just shared his story with me.
And I thought, This is such a gift. I cannot believe the way God works and how he brings people together. He called his daughter back. And he said, No, I'm not kidding. Listen to her story, we have to rent it to her, you have to let her do it, you have to, you have to go down on the rent so she can rent it. And she did. And that house was so serene, because it was on a golf course, I didn't have anybody in my backyard. I just had the green. And I could sit there outside and just look at the green and look up at the mountains. And it gave me this really good feeling of calm.
It was in that house that I got my book out. It was in that house that I walked to the mailbox, I posted a video of me opening the mailbox and my first copy of my book, cutting ties was in the mail. It was there that I got my first box of books, it was there that my social media pages and everything started happening. It's now been almost two and a half years since that happened. That man, I gave him a book later, I stayed in contact with him for just a little while after that, his daughter started following me on social media. And it was such a gift that they allowed me to do that.
During that time, I couldn't explain what that house was feeling like like it just seemed like something is is so great about this house and a friend of mine, she explained it. And so of course I wrote a post about it. And this was a couple years ago at Christmas, I posted a picture of my Christmas tree. And again, I'll add that to social media. But it says "the home after a divorce can be a place of healing. My friend calls it the healing house, she had one and shared that it was not at all like the houses she had while married, it was much smaller and not the style she would have chosen. But in that home, she and her four daughters had each other.
They had peace and strength, full of hope they could handle the future. Well, this was my cute healing home. It is perfect for us at this time in our lives. It has such a calm feeling about it. And the feeling of Christmas makes everything that much brighter. Our Savior Jesus Christ makes living life and moving forward possible. With him, my eyes are open. He is my light, he is my reason for everything." I share that with you again, because it's Christmas.
And because even when you're in the midst of pain and chaos, even if your family members are not going to be there with you this year, even if right now you're in the middle of making some really hard decisions. It might not be like what I had to go through but something hard, something painful. Or maybe it is maybe here you are choosing divorce right now, whatever your trial, whatever it is that makes Christmas time feel hard.
You can have healing in your home, your home can be a healing house, it can offer warmth and goodness and strength and hope. Sometimes we have to create it. Sometimes we have to decide and figure out what it is we need to feel safe and secure in our new healing space. Or how do we overcome divorce or loneliness? How do we get through the fact that our kids aren't going to be there, or maybe death, maybe we lost somebody super important to us.
Whatever your situation is, the holidays can be such a hard time. And I want you to know you are not alone in this. I remember counting down the days sometimes, okay, this is almost over, it's almost over. I loved it. And I also hated it. I wanted to stay and I wanted to watch Christmas movies and look at lights. And I also needed the new year to start. wherever you're at. It's okay. Healing is what is important. Taking the things you can like me outside, drinking hot chocolate with my neighbors feeling so good and also so lonely. Take both. There's duality in this. There is healing while you're still in pain. There is grief while you're still healing. It's both.
There's so much to be done when you're going through hard things. This is the time though, when there's extra feelings of joy in the air. Or even that feeling of Jesus Christ, where we know where we think about his birth, where we think about his resurrection, where we think about what he's done for us. And that we're not walking this alone. There is some added strength to get through it at this time of year where we just have a few weeks left.
And it's been 2020 which has had so many crazy things. Think about what has gone on in your life. What has happened this year, grieve the things that have been so painful that you can't even stand it. Where you feel that lump in your throat as you walk away from a group of people were even in a crowd you feel so lonely. Think about those things that have happened and think about other pieces along the way that have also been okay, what's going on for you right now during this holiday season that even though it's painful, and even though every day you have to make a choice to get through it. What's happening to A day.
That is okay. Is it your Christmas tree? Is it the family members that you do have still with you? Is it stories you're reading? Is it scriptures that you are finding that are really speaking to your soul? What is it that feels healing? Notice it, be aware of it, feel gratitude for it, take those pieces into your heart and see that you're going to be okay, that these are the reasons why you can make it that even though this isn't the way you wanted it to look that you're going to take hold of the things that are good, that are making it feel okay and bearable, and have gratitude, and even put a smile on your face for those particular things.
It doesn't discount the pain, it doesn't mean that everything is okay. It just helps you find a little bit of balance when you're feeling so alone. You're not alone. There are so many painful things that so many people are going through, you can also always reach out, you can start planning for your new year of how you're going to heal and what it looks like for you. Do you need therapy to help you through trauma? Do you need someone like me who can walk you through your situations and your experiences, talk them out so that you can make a plan to move forward in life, whatever it is you need, start planning for that.
You can even start right now. You don't have to wait till the New Year. You can start right now. As the next few weeks, keep going, it is going to be hard it is going to be stressful, there are going to be things that trigger you. I know for me, in those first few years, going to the mall during Christmas was stressful. And I love to do that I love buying the gifts and I love looking to see what people would want and I used to just thrive and even the buisiness and the crowds.
But after 2012 that anxiety that would come with all the people around and the triggers and the trauma, it was almost impossible. I remember I was at something in Salt Lake City, which was about four hours from my house. And I was at an event over the beginning. I guess it was the beginning of December and I thought okay, this is going to be great. I am going to go to the mall. Here. It's out of town. There's lots of stores and I'm going to plan some Christmas shopping. I was super excited. It was a Friday night and I just thought this is gonna be so fun. I was by myself. But I went in it was crowded The music was playing.
At first I thought okay, this feels good. There was decorations up it felt like Christmas. And all of a sudden it just the anxiety just went through the roof. There's too many people, too many people laughing and talking and buying gifts and I almost had a panic attack. I just couldn't even stand it. I like okay, I guess I can't do this. I guess I can't buy Christmas presents. This is not gonna be the way it works. I am not the same anymore. I have not. I don't have the same capacity that I used to have. I was so upset. I was upset with myself that I couldn't manage it.
I thought, I'm not even married anymore. I should be able to do this. But I couldn't. As I walked out of the mall, the very corner store by the door was a combination of Cinnabon and cold stone. So do you know what I did? I went in, I bought a cinnamon roll. I bought the chocolate peanut butter cup coldstone both you guys I bought both. And I took them back to my hotel. I was feeling a lot of different feelings. That night, I chose to do self care with buying treats. emotional eating, right. But let me tell you what happened.
When I was doing that. I brought it to my hotel room, I turned on some music. And I sat there and I had a few bites. And I just thought you know what, I am so glad that I'm free. I am so glad that even though I'm not through the trauma yet, and the triggers keep coming, that I am not living in it anymore, that I get to decide what I do from here. It was a huge gift to realize that I had a say that I got to decide from here on out what I was going to do. It taught me that day that I still had trauma that I still had triggers that I needed help still, I was currently going to therapy. And so now I just took it to the next level with really striving to dig deep of overcoming the trauma getting past that so I can move into my future. It works. It really does.
And I'm so glad that it does, because it makes such a difference. So what I'm going to leave you with is a post on Instagram. The quote is "a lot of things broke my heart, but fixed my vision". Listen to that. Again. "A lot of things broke my heart, but fixed my vision." This is what I wrote about it. "When my heart broke in 2012 My eyes were blown wide open. Wow was I put right into shock and trauma. The gift though was truly learning to see truth, accept reality and learn how to change my current way of thinking and acting, I chose to do the healing work necessary, which changed my life. Hallelujah. This quote, a lot of things broke my heart but fixed my vision is true for me.
My vision is completely different and so much healthier." A broken heart can be life changing for the positive if you allow it to be. So if you're ready to turn your broken heart into growth and healing, please reach out. Let's schedule a session, I can help you get started. We can even start before Christmas just to give you some grounding techniques of how to make it through if you're feeling lost, or unsupported, or lonely. I am here for you, I can help you and then let's start out the new year with the healing that you need so that you can thrive and that you can be happy.
And that you can work through any grief or trauma or pain or sadness or loneliness. Over the next few weeks, look for opportunities to find the peace. Find the healing things that are in your home. If they're not there, do something to make your home feel healing to you. In the meantime, head over to my website Roxanne Kennedy-Granata.com. There you'll find my most current deal which is a buy one, get one. It's for my book cutting ties.
And it's so that you can have one for yourself or give to a friend or give both of them to a friend. If you don't have anybody right now that you'd want to give it to. I promise you as you heal, people will be brought into your life that also need what you have. You can also book a session with me from the site and I'm excited to work with you. I'll see you next time.