Grief: Holidays Without Them

Oh no. Here it comes! A holiday without them. How do I deal with that? 

Holidays are supposed to be joyful; a time to gather together with loved ones to share thanks and exchange gifts of love. But what happens when the upcoming holiday only serves to remind us that someone we love is sadly missing? It’s difficult to cope. If it’s the first year we might wonder, “How different is this year going to be. How much pain am I going to feel?”

Although it might seem strange, including your loved one in your holidays can be a great way to deal head-on with the fact that things have changed. Perhaps a new tradition or ritual can be introduced, making the upcoming holiday special. For example, you might create a special program that includes all of your loved ones, including the one who is not physically present. It is a great way to deal and heal the pain of the change of losing them. This can also include a family pet.

You might light a candle, say a family prayer or do something in honor of the deceased. You might have a ceremony or celebration, or maybe just a time to quietly reflect and talk about feelings. Sharing of this nature can be very healing and help families and friends form a closer bond. It is important that everyone feels involved and important, as without this, the holidays can be a very lonely time to get through.

If, for whatever reason, no family is around, find something to get involved with. Create your own family of friends. Volunteer work, such as feeding the homeless, fostering animals or other community services are greatly appreciated and in doing so, truly exemplify what the end of the year holidays are all about in the first place. Service is a great way to get out of yourself for awhile, while offering a helping hand.

While the holidays may be different this year, or maybe they have been different for years, the holidays are coming and we must make the best of them if we are to heal. If you can find a way to grab ahold of them, instead of allowing the holidays to grab ahold of you, they will seem more manageable. And, maybe with a new tradition or ritual introduced that promotes healing, the next holiday won’t seem so daunting.

A poem of remembrance written, especially for YOU-

Holidays used to be so pleasant, friends and families gathered near.
But one of them is missing; that’s the one who is not here.

We push along without them, tears of pain we can’t deny,
and we wish that they could join us, that death could be defied.

But fear not, no one is missing, your loved ones still abide,
although you may not see them, they are forever by your side.

So celebrate with gifts of love, give thanks like you always do,
And even though there’s been a change, your loved one’s still with you.

Blessing to you all for comfort, peace and healing.
Hugs,
Jade

17 thoughts on “Grief: Holidays Without Them

  1. Thank you Jade for the beautiful reminder that our loved ones are always here with us! Lighting a candle and saying a prayer are great ideas to bring their presence closer to us during the holidays. xoSara

  2. It’s going to be my 1st Thanksgiving and following Christmas without my dear wife Marina that passed away this August 18th of brain hemorrhage just 4 days before our son’a wedding and 2 weeks before our 25th “silver wedding anniversary “. She was so beautiful, young, full of energy, no warnings at all. I found her already cold in a bathroom floor . I decided during these Holidays go and visit places where we lived and we were so happy before her transfer to Florida: Long Island NY and Indianapolis. I feel she’d be happy seeing me doing this. I miss her every second of my life.

  3. Such encouragement as these “holidays” come around.
    I would like them to just pass as if it were like any other day!

    Blessings on you Jade for all you do for us.

  4. Jade…thank you for this post. This will be the first holiday season without our son Dustin. I was dreading it. Now I know for sure Dustin is with us still. Let me tell you why. Every Thanksgiving we would all go out to dinner at a local eating place on the ocean. Because my autistic son, Aaron, is used to this schedule my husband and I still had to take our autistic son but this year without Dustin. I just wanted to get it over with. I was depressed. When Aaron got into the car, he turned on the radio. “Who Loves You” by the Four Seasons was playing. It made me think of the time I took Dustin and Aaron last year to a Four Seasons tribute concert. When we arrived and we were walking up the side street to get there, I looked up and saw the street sign…Boston Ave. Boston was his favorite town. The Red Sox were his favorite team. I said “Look! Dustin is here!!” . While eating Aaron looked at me and said “Dusty”. He is basically non verbal so this surprised me. He has not said Dusty’s name since he died on June 30th. Then he kept on eating like nothing happened. When walking back to our car, I noticed a plate that said J44. Dustin’s favorite number was 44. His email addy was jag44. His favorite football team was the Jaguars. As I walked past another car I saw another plate that said K44. His last name is Koch. I was reminded of the song I had heard.” Who loves you pretty mama…who will watch you through the night”… I knew then that Dustin was indeed with us and watching us through the night.

      • I have thought a lot about that. A friend who believes in spirits and signs thinks Dustin may have been there at the table in the 4th chair and Aaron saw him. Aaron is still a small child mentally…around 5 years old. He is so innocent yet. I think kids are more in tune to seeing and hearing our loved ones than we are sometimes. Aaron never seemed upset over Dustin’s passing. Maybe you are right. Aaron might still see him and talk to him. I wish I knew since he does not talk…just words once and a while.

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