I read a post on Facebook today written by someone who had just
recently lost a loved one. This Christmas is a sad one for her and it
is for many who have recently and not so recently lost someone who
I left an encouraging note for her because I know and understand the
pain she is feeling right now. While writing that note, it occurred to
me that many blog readers are experiencing the same loss and
perhaps I can be of help with those readers as well. You may well
be one of those readers, and if this is so, this post is for you.
The first Christmas I spent without my Daddy was in 2010. He had
passed away after a long battle with Alzheimer's just 6 months before.
I spent most of those months leading to Christmas comforting my Mom
who was devastated by the loss. As a consequence, I buried my grief
because I knew I needed to be strong for her.
When my Mom passed away four years later I felt twice the
grief. It hit me like a heavy weight and I suffered both
emotionally and physically. It was the kind of heartache and
pain I had never known before.
That first Christmas without both of my parents is a bit of
a blur to me. I remember we had a big tree and I had every
intention of decorating it, but only managed to put on the
lights. Hanging ornaments on the tree that had once been
theirs was more than I could handle.
We invited a co-worker of David's who has no family to
come and spend the day and to have dinner with us. That
was helpful because it gave me something and someone
else to focus on. A couple of days later, we headed up to a
resort in Austin to spend what would have been my Mom's
birthday on the 29th and to celebrate New Year's Eve. It
helped to be away from home that year.
Last year my Aunt Susan died and it was another Christmas without
a beloved family member. We spent that holiday with friends and
David's family and it helped me to cope with the pain of her loss.
This is the first Christmas that I am not overwhelmed by grief. It's
been six years of a teary Christmas, but this year is far less teary and
I am actually able to enjoy myself without feeling like I want to climb
into bed and skip the celebrations.
If you are in the beginning stages of the mourning process and this
is your first Christmas without the one you love, I will not tell you
that it will be easy. We each suffer grief in our own way. Be kind to
yourself. Don't push yourself and pretend to be happy when you
Life is never the same after losing a loved one, but it can be
different and you can and will find a way to celebrate their
memory while allowing yourself to also create new traditions
of your own. It will get better and next year will be easier and
over time you will treasure their memory in your heart without
too many tears. From my own experience, I know this is true.
Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley