When Holidays Bring Heartache

Can I just start by saying, “Holy Christmas craziness.” There has been a lot going on these past couple of weeks my friends. Almost too much, if I do say so myself. I survived, but my writing went on the backburner and that makes me sad. Look for 2 posts this week!

The holidays can be hard for many of us. Surrounded by family and friends whom we are maybe not particularly fond of. Getting the stink eye from great-aunt Ethel when she asks the ever looming question, “So, are you still single?” Yes I am Ethel, because I enjoy watching TV with no pants on and eating ice cream straight out of the container. Just kidding, I’m sure Ethel is a lovely lady. Not to mention, we have to tell everybody our life story, from careers to our love lives and everything in between. When in all reality, you just want to drink a bottle of red (by yourself) and binge watch your newest Netflix series obsession. Oh, is that just me?

This year I am not particularly cheery whenever a holiday comes around. Ever since the loss of my mom, I find that the holiday season brings with it an immense sadness. A reminder of what I lost and what I’ll never have again. Ask any of my friends, I am depressing to be around somewhere within the 2 week period of any major holiday. That’s not counting her birthday or the hardest one of all, Mother’s Day.

If I’m being completely honest, I actually have no idea how to navigate this unknown territory. I have found that after such a major loss my life has been divided into two parts. My life with my mom and my life without her. This first year has been particularly painful and it will only ease with time, patience, acceptance and love. Grief can seem like a never-ending labyrinth that way. We wander around, hoping to find our way out, but instead encounter obstacles and wrong turns.

Holidays can be a double-edged sword. While I can feel completely alone, empty and so sad, I can also feel grateful and loved. Grateful for those friends and family I get to spend my time with and for all my mom taught me during her time on Earth. For now, I can recognize my feelings for what they are and remind myself she will always have a place in my heart.

While the holidays can be difficult, resist the urge to sink too deep into the sadness. Surround yourself with positive people who love you and let you be who you are. Don’t be too hard on yourself when those memories come back. Spend time volunteering. In fact, one of my favorite Thanksgiving memories is when I volunteered to serve others who didn’t have anywhere to go during the holiday. It was a truly humbling experience.

The best I can do is remember that my best is ok. That I don’t need to tuck everything away because I experienced something that changed me forever. I can be sad because I know one day I will be me again, and I will step into the sunshine with joy in my heart. Until that day arrives, I’ll continue to find my way, a little at a time. And yes, while the holidays can bring unwanted feelings and reminders, they can also bring an atmosphere of gratitude and love when we need it the most.


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