The second week in December my husband and I were to travel to our annual holiday visit to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Gaston has visited Gatlinburg annually for over twenty-five years, and when we married 14 years ago, we continued the tradition. I quickly grew to love the area. I’ll admit, the food is something I looked forward to every year. However, the wildlife, amazing mountains, and wonderful people were top on the list as well. Most of all, I loved the cabin we would rent, which brought me to a restful and peaceful place in my soul, and precious time with my husband. With the tragic wildfires, much of the area is devastated, the cabin we had rented is burned down, and the area has a very long road to recovery. As I selfishly consider the disappointment I am experiencing, I also reflect on the people there who are normal working people who love the mountain life, and cheerfully serve the tourists for their livelihood. Our prayers and hearts are with the Gatlinburg community that many of you have also enjoyed.
You have had unique traditions over the years, as well. However, due to any number of things, including health and caregiving, you have had to give many of those up. Change is hard, especially when something special to you is taken away. After we grieve the change, we begin to focus on making new traditions and new memories that work for us now. Hopefully, your family and friends will join you in these. At some point, we just have to let go of what we thought should happen, and live in what is happening. If we can do that, our mental state is much more relaxed, our outlook is much more pleasant, and we may even ask for help that we are now aware we need. I wish you all of these good things this holiday season and in the New Year.