Losing Someone You Love
If you've ever experienced the death of a close family member, or perhaps someone else very close to you then you'll understand how difficult it can be to imagine how you'll carry on without them. You are left wondering how in the world you will be able to make it through situations where you normally had them present.
How will you handle celebrations that are normally joyful such as memorable occasions like their birthday or the holidays? Holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries can be really tough. Thanksgiving and Christmas are particularly tough because of how much emphasis we put on these celebrations and they usually involve big festive gatherings.
No matter how you slice it, your life will never be the same, nor will your holidays. Things are forever changed. Time truly is a great healer though. I know you've heard that before and it probably brings little comfort when you are still fresh in your grief. But, I do promise it does get easier to deal with it as time passes on. You simply adapt and learn to rely more on fond memories of them to get you through it.
How Do You Handle Family Holidays and Traditions?
I lost my son at the end of October 2003. His birthday was only 2 weeks after that and that first Thanksgiving and Christmas without him came very quickly in my grief process. It was difficult to imagine such important dates without him.
For me, there were certain traditions that no longer felt 'right'. Yet, there were other new ones that did. Don't be afraid to change your traditions if adopting new ones makes you feel better. Also, don't be surprised if things change for subsequent years.
For example, I found the seating arrangement difficult that first Thanksgiving and Christmas. My son always sat next to me on my right. I no longer wanted to sit in my normal seat because it no longer felt 'right' without him beside me. I chose to sit somewhere completely different. It took me years to sit in my original seat without it hurting that he no longer was sitting beside me.
Perhaps you have certain traditions that your loved one specifically did. For instance, maybe your loved one was the designated person for putting the star on top of the Christmas tree. You have choices this year. Perhaps you chose not to have a star at all. Perhaps you can designate someone else to place the star. Perhaps you can do it yourself in honor of that person. Perhaps you switch to an angel where having someone else put the angel on seems ok. Only you can decide what feels right. Don't be afraid to change things for this year. Just know that next year you can make a different choice.
Your goal is do whatever feels right for this year. Worry about next year, next year.
How My Mother Handled Her First Holidays Without My Dad
My dad passed away in September 2008.
In the years preceding his death, my parents had gotten away from putting up outside lights and they had even stopped putting up a full Christmas tree. They had switched to a small tabletop version. I think it has just gotten to be too much trouble for them as they had gotten older.
For Christmas 2008, just a few months after dad's death, my mother purchased a new Christmas tree that actually mounted to the wall and takes up half the space of a regular tree. She also put up lots of outside lights. It's not that she suddenly felt like celebrating, because of course she didn't. But, it was still what felt right. She celebrated Christmas in spite of her grief and it was ok that things were different. She actually embraced the differences and it helped her get through this tough time.
Things You Can Do In Rememberence of Your Lost Loved One
My son had been an accomplished artist before his death. When one of the local craft stores ran a Christmas sale on some really nice art sets it bothered me that he was no longer around to buy one for. I decided to buy three of them and take them to his school and donate them in his honor instead. His art teacher chose three students she thought would enjoy them and presented them to them.
There are so many worthy causes that you can give to in rememberence of your loved one. These are just a few suggestions:
- Donate to some cause your loved one was passionate about.
- Donate to a local organization that helps the homeless or battered women
- Donate food to a food bank
- Donate toys to a Toys for Tots program
- Buy some gift you would ordinarily buy for your loved one and give it to a stranger
- Plant a tree or shrub to remember your loved one as it grows
- PARENTS GRIEF - THE LOSS OF A CHILD
A parents grief from the loss of a child is perhaps the most inconsolable of grief losses. Find your way to hope and healing here.
- The Death Of A Child - The Grief Of The Parents: A Lifetime Journey
The death of a child and the grief of the parents
- Surviving the Death of a Spouse
Linda Palucci lost her husband, Gene, to a brain tumor and cancer on March 21, 1992. She kept a diary during the trying days of his illness, and its aftermath. She chose to share her innermost feelings in an ebook, now in paperback.