The holidays can be a stressful time for everyone. When you have lost a loved one, the holidays can be filled with mixed emotions of joy and sadness. After the loss of my mother, the first Thanksgiving and Christmas were filled with a sense of displacement. My mother always organized the holidays at her house. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and birthdays were always a celebration with many family and friends.
After my mom passed away, everything changed. The first years were adjustment. I was lucky enough to be included in my sister’s family festivities and when my dad moved back to California we were able to start new family traditions.
During the holidays, my house is still filled with memories of my mother’s love of the holidays. I have combined my new Christmas decorations and traditions with some of my mom’s favorites. Making my mom’s favorite holiday recipes each year helps me connect with her spirit and makes me feel like she’s there with me.
As we move into the holiday season, please remember that your friends and family who have lost a loved one may be experiencing deep feelings of loss. Make sure you take the time to connect with them and let them know that they are loved.
Here are some ways to be the gift they’ve been waiting for this holiday season:
- Invite your loved one to join you for your holiday gathering. As family members pass away, traditions change and a loved one may not be able to spend the holidays with their family. Including them in your family’s festivities will help ease any loneliness you may be feeling at this time of year.
- make a special date to go out to dinner, have a coffee, or go shopping to have a private one-on-one time. This special time will give you a chance to talk about your feelings.
- Help them with the arrangements for the holidays. If they’re hosting a holiday get-together, offer to help them prepare a meal or offer to go shopping to take some of the stress away. Ask them if they would like you to prepare a favorite meal that may have been a family tradition.
- Take them out for a special day of pampering. to a spa or get a massage. Relaxation and pampering will help both of you with the stress of the holidays.
- celebrate the memories of your loved one by sharing stories and going through photo albums together. This activity will give your friend or family member a chance to celebrate their happy memories.
Having the support of friends and family during the holidays can make all the difference. Just as you are doing your to do list For the holidays, be sure to include those friends and family who could use a little extra love and care this time of year.