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Anticipatory Grieving
Grief/Depression: I&II
Grief To Creativity
Letting Go
Hurtful Mother
Creative Paradigm
Holiday Stress
Reader Response
In Memorium
Readers Respond
Proposition
Everyone Wants To
I'm Not Sick
Death & Mirth
For Giving Life
Painful Depression
Mastery of Tragedy
Laughter and Living

The Stress Doc goes with the holiday flow, drawing upon readers' heartfelt musings to his holiday newsletter. From poignant loss to passionate living, savor this generous gift of distinctive individuality and shared humanity.

Readers Respond to Holiday Stress

The holiday newsletter elicited a poignant, passionate and playful mix from readers. It was so tasty, I wanted to share this generous gumbo with you. Topics include: a) reflections on a transformative year, b) thoughts of a recently deceased loved one, c) concern about the lack of reciprocity in family communication, d) a poetic image of love countered by some irreverent mother-in-law musings, e) loving play between mother and daughter along with ponderings about poppa and panda, and f) a tiding of comfort and joy.

From: SLaird

Dear MARK, Last MAY I wrote to you with much unhappiness and a heavy heart. I lost my Favorite Aunt to Death and my Job. I hit FIFTY and put myself in a place working where I did not need to keep challanging myself.

I took some good advice and got some help. Being fifty isn't so bad. I STARTED A NEW Business. I HAVE BEEN TAKING a course called PSI seminars and I am on my way to Being who I am. Listening more clearly to people, enjoying my life and being the best that I can be! Contributing something back to society with out asking back and not counting how many deeds I DID that were goooooood............. THANK YOU FOR YOUR ADVICE. You told me that I needed to get some help and I did!!!!! HAVE an awsome holiday !!!!!!! SHARON LAIRD

(Editor's Note: If you have a question, assuming the time and energy, I will try to answer your email. Send to stressdoc@aol.com .)

From: Astern

Dear SD, Thanks for your Dec. Newsletter. It is Monday morning and I was thinking of my companion of many years who died Aug. lst and feeling a lot down. I am going to his sister's house for Christmas with my kids which we did every year (l7) and he will not be there. Talk about holiday blues. He was R. C. and I'm Jewish and I enjoyed the day very much. I was worrying about being a boiled potato because I miss him so much and after reading your newsletter the feeling I got was that it is OK. I loved the Dec. letter and all of them. You are great. Happy holidays, Astern

From: Juice215

Thanks Doc for the newsletter! I really enjoyed "I Can't Remember"!!!! Sounds exactly like me. LOL!! However, I need to send this to my family and friends in Michigan! Seems like I am doing all of the writing and not getting any replies. It seems writing is a lost art nowadays!

I have learned long ago not to let the holidays make me stressful. I make a small list of what I am going to give and only charge what I can pay off by Feb.!

Thanks again for the newsletter! Juice

From: Lilly10033

Mark,

Very touching newsletter today about holidays. There's so many hues and moods to holiday's yet prevailing is laughter at the stress and humor at people arriving from Euribias aka down under LOL. But in the end tis just a laughin one must do at what we try so hard to make the season be. When all it takes is love, laughter, and tolerance, and charity. Then in some cases the better part of valor is to get thee to a far away place out of town; for the better part of valor is to run like hell if nothing else works... Stress you bet there is stress. Some good and totally amusing and some sad for some of my family. But all will go well. Of this I'm positive because love is the the ribbon that ties us all together no matter where we are,together or naye. And when one in the family gets news that the mother-in-law from Hell is coming not only to test your marriage to the limits and make all around including her son generally miserable, and this we know because divorce was almost a done deal two times she visited before. One knows friends and family will rally and help them thru it...Perhaps it's Satan that makes her do those things she does so well. Enough. Love will win the day if laughter holds its hand.and the people in your family hold yours . Tis a happy holiday season , challenges, stresses, and all. Maybe I'll go to the bahamas this year. LOL

From: SeaOfStars

My dear friend, another wonderful newsletter....how very much I love this time of year..... Katie and I put the tree up this year.... and we shared so much laughter ...she straddled the tree and sat on it outside while I tried to saw the bottom even.... that's after we got it un-stuck from the trunk of the car..... and after we put it up, it was going down.... W grabbed it.... tried moving it a half inch at the bottom, but moved it an inch and half...going down the other way!!!!!.... grabbed it again.... we held, we edged the bottom over.... very carefully and slowly let go of it, and voila!!!, it stood up!!!!...until I decided I needed to turn it just a little...... going down again..... but we finally got it to stand straight and tied it with red ribbon to the bannister to steady it since the cats were extremely interested in it..... yesterday, before I drove her back, we managed to decorate most of it.... a wonderful weekend full of real Christmas spirit.... I always tried to show the girls what Christmas really means... it isn't presents and stress.... it's calm and love and sharing and remembering the real reason for the day....

I fight my own ghosts at this time of year Mark... Christmas 1957 the doctors allowed my dad to come home from the hospital for a few days... he went back to the hospital and died the following March... my brother gave me a tall stand up panda bear that year... the bear still stands in my bedroom next to the rocking chair my dad would rock me in as we watched Nat King Cole and Perry Como.... you would have loved my dad Mark... he was so warm and caring.... a person with a warm heart and sharing soul.... how much I still miss him, and still can't listen to "I'll Be Home For Christmas" without tears filling my eyes thinking of him.... but Mark, this is a magical time of year where the impossible becomes probable and love should fill the being.... oh gosh... rambling... I've been accused of being a Pollyanna... I don't think so... maybe my dad lives through me ... quiet smiles.... Barb

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From: Fabulous M

Just wanted to say a heart-y Thanks for the Holiday Newsletter! I loved the jokes about the family vis a vis blues v. stress; the characterization of St. Nick as a dysfunctional, over-eating role model for the holiday, your apt advice on "presence, not presents" and the wonderful lines from readers at the end.

You are a national treasure, and I want you to know how much I've appreciated all your mailings this past year, especially this one, but not to overlook the poignant self-disclosures around Prozac and the Tales of Sun and Moon.

I wish for you the very things you work so diligently to help others discover: peace, well-being and joy of living. Lots of love to you, every day of the year,

Marilyn

(I'll be sending a new stress management associate to your web pages soon!)

(Ed. Note: Aw shucks ;-). Thank you all for your thought and caring. And for any missed newsletters or articles, just email.)

To a graceful and joyful holiday and, of course...Practice Safe Stress!

Mark Gorkin, "The Stress Doc," Licensed Clinical Social Worker, is a nationally recognized speaker, workshop leader and author on stress, reorganizational change, anger, team building, creativity and humor. He is also the internet's and the nation's leading "Psychohumorist." The Stress Doc is a columnist for the popular cyber-newsletter, Humor From The Edge -- HUMOR FROM THE EDGE HOME PAGE . Mark is also the "Online Psychohumorist" for the major AOL mental health resource network, Online Psych -- ONLINE PSYCH: THE STRESS DOC and Financial Services Journal Online. And he is an offline writer for two mental health/substance abuse publications -- Treatment Today and Paradigm Magazine. His motto: Have Stress? Will Travel: A Smart Mouth for Hire! Reach "The Doc" at (202) 232-8662, email: Stress Doc@aol.com, or check out his "Hot Site" website: http://www.stressdoc.com or click STRESS DOC HOMEPAGE. (The site was selected as a USA Today Online "Hot Site" and designated a four-star, top- rated site by Mental Health Net.)

** For his free newsletter, Notes from the Online Psychohumorist ™ or for info on the Stress Doc's Online Coaching program, email stressdoc@aol.com .