Posted by Adrienne Crowther on November 19, 2015
The holidays can be extremely tender for those in grief. Memories of happier moments with your loved one are triggered by every song, decoration, or celebration. It can be a very emotional time when we're grieving, and there's no getting around it - just through it....which can be challenging at best.
That first Christmas, a mere 3 months after my first husband's passing, we spent the day with his family. I had to leave the room several times in tears, not wanting to bring everyone else down with me. As it turned out, they were all there with me, suffering in each of their respective ways. There's a bittersweet element to that, however. We all shared the same feelings, and even without words, we were there for each other.
After that first holiday, I decided that my daughters and I would re-invent Christmas. We spent the 2nd year in St. John, in the Virgin Islands. Looking back, it was such a great thing to do. We were together, surrounded by gorgeous surroundings, and we all agreed that he would have loved the idea.
Since then, we've resumed our holiday traditions, at home, with a tree, decorations, and all the celebration that goes along with that. It's different, and that's ok. I think it's important to remove expectations during the holiday season, after a loss. It might be brutal, it might not be so bad, but it will surely be different. If that's the only expectation we have, it might help ease the discomfort.
So don't be afraid to shake it up a little. Sometimes, re-inventing a holiday can do a world of good. And furthermore, without expectations of how it SHOULD feel, try to experience the love and fellowship of the season in a new way.