It’s that time of year when everyone is writing about the holidays and grief. Or rather the grief that holidays bring on, remind us of.
Most of those articles and blog posts contain similar themes, great advice, and useful tips.
Do I have anything new to add? Perhaps not. Except to remind you that your grief is your own. Own it. Do what feels right to you. Honor your loved one in ways that matter to you—and them.
There will be an empty chair at the table. The absence of a familiar face. The emptiness of your loved one’s physicality. Traditions that have become meaningless because they’re missing.
Maybe he was the one who placed the star on the Christmas tree. She made her unique brand of egg nog. Strung fairy lights around the house. Crafted hand-made presents. Loved caroling.
There’s a hole in the holidays now. A tear in the family fabric. You stare at the hole and cry for as long as you need to. You vow never to celebrate the holidays ever. You make rash promises that spring from the intensity of grief.
But there will come a day when you push a finger through that tear in the fabric and feel the frayed threads. You pick up one thread, then another. You start the long process of mending that hole. You rejoin and reconnect the missing parts. You patch the gape. You try one line of “Hark the herald angels sing…” and realize that the words now make it past the lump in your throat. You see the lights in the neighborhood and feel magic stir within.
You talk to your loved one. Tell them you miss them. The holidays will never be the same without them. But there will be a new normal.
And in some part of your being you know now that they’re in the rocker right by the window. Smiling and clapping when the kids bound in, hungry fingers tearing the wrapper on Christmas presents. Loving and blessing everyone through dreams, unexplained synchronicities and delightful surprises.
And you will know that there are more, many more Christmases in you. Reasons to laugh and feel joy. Because you always carry your loved ones with you. Into every holiday, and each new year that is born.