4 Ways to Find the Light This Holiday Season

Author: Zaneta Gileno

Many among us feel challenged during this season of gratitude and gathering. As I struggle to find gratitude while integrating the pain of loss, I'm reminded of a favorite quote by Dieter F. Uchtdorf. He states, "Being grateful in times of distress does not mean we are pleased with our circumstances. It does mean that through the eyes of faith we look beyond our present-day challenges."

wooden heart

Do we have faith that hope will come and the light will once again shine? Dark as the day may seem, here are some tips that can help us seek the good, even when we aren’t sure we will have joy again any time soon. 

1. Set an intention.

Set an intention for your holiday season - one that gives you the freedom to maintain a routine, exit the gathering when it has been too much, cry without reservation or feel joy when it comes to your heart. Decide what you need and do your best to surround yourself with those who will honor your intention. 

2. Honor the past.

As a TAPS family, we strive to honor the love that remains when our hero is no longer with us. Take a moment this season to think about a cherished memory you shared together and share it with someone. Keeping that memory alive brings comfort and helps us celebrate the life they lived. 

3. Have faith that the light will come.

Look to others you admire for their strength and courage, and reach out to them for comfort if you need it. Reading the TAPS Magazine or blog can help change the focus to how others have managed to have meaningful holidays after their loved one has died. 

4. Seek support from your tribe.

As a family of military loss survivors, we are more than 70,000 strong. Make a list of those you are able to count on for support and don't forget to add TAPS to the list. You can call us 24/7. We are here. Sharing the journey of pain helps us to transform that pain to purpose. Leaning on the stories and courage of others can make all the difference. Remember you are not alone. 

From the pen of…
Zaneta M. Gileno, LMSW, CT, began her social work career as a professional in the child welfare system.  Her efforts to reunite families and empower parents helped shape her as a practitioner. A graduate of Columbia University School of Social Work, Zaneta now serves as Director of Community Based Care for TAPS.