The holiday season is a warmly anticipated time for many of us, but after a profound loss, it can be extremely difficult. We asked members of our Facebook page (facebook.com/mygriefsupport) “How hard are the upcoming holidays on you? Do you do anything in memory of your lost loved one?”
Susannah started a new tradition. “We hang a new, special ornament, on our tree for our daughter,” she said. “This will be our fourth Christmas without her. The first year was unbearable, but each year got a bit softer.”
Debbie recalled that first tough year. “I had decided not to put up a tree for the first time in my life the first Christmas after losing my daughter and grandson six years ago,” she said. “But I was in the parking lot of a shopping center, and they were giving away free trees. My friend encouraged me to take one, and I did. It was the best thing I could have done because my home looked like it had always done during the season. I realized, too, how important it was for my surviving child, my son, who was also grieving and suffering deeply, to be able to feel that we were going to continue our family traditions. We have lovely ornaments dedicated to them, and I always take out the cards I received from them throughout the years, which makes me feel they are still connecting. The season will never be the same without them, but we are now able to enjoy and create new memories, especially with my two-year-old granddaughter, who is a precious gift to us all.”
Rachel said, “[M]y son’s death day is right around Thanksgiving (next year it will fall on Thanksgiving Day), and his birthday is two days after Christmas. His dad, sister and I always have a place at the holiday tables for him, and we always will remember him.”
Other suggestions for surviving the holidays include volunteering at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter, traveling, and adopting new traditions. Would you like to add your own thoughts or reflections into this conversation? If so, please visit our Grieving.com forums and Facebook.com/mygriefsupport.