The Holidays are a time of great joy and excitement but they can also be a reminder of the people and things we've lost. Here is a beautiful story of a local family that is embracing the ups and downs of life simultaneously and finding hope along the journey.
Meet Gina Pineschi - Like many of us, Gina has experienced some significant events in her life where loss and joy were mingled. In 2014 Gina’s mom passed away of cancer just 4 days before her wedding. As a result, she simultaneously grieved deeply while experiencing the great joy of marrying her husband David. This tension of grief and joy arose again a few years later when Gina experienced two miscarriages before the birth of her youngest son. One of the things that helped Gina live in the tension of grief and joy is gratitude. Gina laughed as she said “It sounds cliché, but it’s not. It is shifting your focus.” She mentioned the book ‘One Thousand Gifts’ in which the author, Ann Voskamp, states “Giving thanks for one thousand things is ultimately an invitation to slow time down with the weight of full attention.” She acknowledged that gratitude allowed her to pause and focus on the things she did have. Gina shared that early on there was a temptation to not be fully present in the joy that other moments held, for fear that it would not last. “Don’t let sorrow make you fearful, when you are focused on waiting for the other shoe to drop you can’t enjoy the moment.” Being present in grief is critical if you also want to experience the present joy. “Allow yourself to feel the process…do not ignore it and do not shove it down. Be mindful of what you’re feeling when you feel it.” As adults, we’re not alone in our experience of grief and joy, our children feel it too. Each experience we have allows us to better empathize with others. Gina navigates this tension with her kids by offering care and grace with patience – this looks like “quiet comfort without expectation. After you have been quiet with them and allowed them to feel safe, encourage them by offering hope.” This year you have probably experienced a number of losses but hopefully 2020 was sprinkled with doses of joy. As we enter into the Christmas season, which for many will look very different than normal, know you are not alone. There is joy waiting even the midst of grief.