Holidays are clearly some of the roughest terrain we navigate after a loss. The ways we handle them are as individual as we are. What is most important is that we be present for the loss in whatever form we can. Holidays are part of the journey to be felt fully. They are usually very sad, but sometimes we may catch ourselves doing okay, and we may even have a brief moment of laughter. Whatever you experience, just remember that sadness is allowed because death doesn’t take a holiday. And feeling joy does not negate the impact your loved one had on your life.
Our friends and relatives often think they know how our holidays should look, what the family should and shouldn’t do. They may just be uncomfortable with our pain, and just want us to feel better. But grief is one of those things in life for which there is no detour. We HAVE to go through it in order to come out on the other side. However, we each go through it in our own way, so don’t let anyone else dictate how you manage your holiday. There are no “supposed to’s”. Now more than ever, be gentle with yourself, but do it your way.
One thing that usually helps is to find ways to honor and remember your loved one. Here are just a few suggestions. Be creative.
-If you miss shopping for your loved one, buy something he/she would have liked, then donate it to a shelter or some other organization that adopts families for the holiday.
-Light a candle
-Say a prayer
-Donate time or money in their name
-Do something you loved to do together on that day
-I’ve even heard of families who set a place at the table for their loved one, and share fond memories of him/her during the meal.
It isn’t as important how you remember. You honor them by the fact that you remember.
Sending you peace for your holiday season.