Another holiday season is upon us. While many are going through traditions, and family time, the bereaved are trying to navigate through it all. Many contemplate how to celebrate this holiday, if at all. The first year after a loved one has passed is always the most difficult. The loneliness felt throughout the family. As a parent, the loneliness is screaming. Unpacking ornaments that hold significant memories and meaning is an explosion of emotions. Looking at the empty chair where a little body should sit for family dinner. Gifts under the tree without a certain name on the label. Initially it is very difficult to want to celebrate anything, whether you’ve been grieving the first year or a long time.
As time passes, the holidays become easier to bear. The old traditions either stay or change enough that the hurt is not in the forefront as before. Parents choose how and when to join in the festivities, trying to prevent added anguish. Christmas cards may not be sent. Avoidance of holiday parties. Spending Christmas day with only your spouse and surviving children. Whatever is needed to cope, it is correct for you. Sometimes we need to hide away from everyone and have a cry to let the pain out.
Many try to celebrate as best to tribute their missing loved one. Some spend time at the plot (as we do), while others bring the urn to family gatherings. Continue to remember your loved one. Share stories, laughter and memories with each other. Go skating, watch a movie or play board games, if that’s what your love would have liked to do. Travel, to get away from it all. Some call it running away. I think of it as an escape from all the past holiday memories that can bring hurt and pain along with it. Whatever you do, know that it is right for you and your family. Do what you know will help you get through a difficult season. Everyone is different and no one has a right to judge. Just take time for yourself. We all grieve different and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Be kind to yourself, because we still have our journey on this rock.
From our family to yours, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and all happy
holidays in the new year.