Grief is something I know all too well. It’s something I have been through a number of times. The one thing I can tell you that I know for sure is that Holidays are the worse. Mothers Day/Fathers Day comes in a close second if you have lost one of your parents but holidays…..those are the worse. Today someone will be burying a loved one, someone will be saying goodbye for the last time, someone will be sitting in a closet wondering what to wear for a funeral that they really didn’t see themselves attending this soon. Grief hits you during the holidays the most because the holidays are a time for family and when you don’t have any……it can cause depression and sadness.
Growing up it was always my mom, my grandma, and one of my Aunts. Every single Christmas and Thanksgiving it was just the 4 of us. No huge family, no extended family members, no cousins, not even a lot of friends. It was us…we would get up on the morning of Thanksgiving and eat a huge breakfast then decorate the tree or the fireplace until dinner which was around 2 pm. Then my mom would go visit with some of her friends that evening or we would sit and watch a movie on VHS (I know I’m old). On Christmas morning we would get up that morning make a huge breakfast, get dressed so that we could be cute in pictures, then open up our gifts. We would either again go visiting or people would come to us for a few minutes. I am not use to big families so when I got married to my hubs I was a little apprehensive at first because it was overwhelming I mean 30 people deep just in his immediate family was a lot to take in.
Grief is Universal.
It does not escape anyone. You will go through it. Sometimes when I look at statuses on my Facebook page and I see someone saying OMG I have lost my loved one I look at the post and I say to myself try losing 4 loved ones within one year and your husband a few years later. I want to say try that on for size…. I don’t know I guess I am so far removed from the grief that it doesn’t pain me anymore. I am numb to it…once you have lost a parent I don’t think any other grief will shock you unless it’s your child. Depression can set in during these times if you don’t stay afloat. You have to make yourself happy….you have to make yourself want to enjoy the holidays. Unless you have walked in my shoes you can’t tell me how to grieve or how to cope. My mom died December 19, 2007. I remember the day like yesterday. It was a few days after my birthday. I had asked the Lord to let her live for my birthday that’s all I wanted that year….I went to see her that day my son and I. He was a hand baby just shy of 1 years old and we spent my birthday in hospice with my mom. She never said that she loved me. Never heard her utter the words….I knew that she did by her actions but she never said them until that day. I knew that day was going to be the last day I saw her alive. As we were walking out the door she said, Kita …take care of that boy and I love you. I stood at the door for a what seemed like a long time and I had tears in my eyes as I said…I will, I love you. My son said bye gamma and we walked out hand in hand. They called me on the 19th at 5 am to tell me she was transitioning and asked me if I wanted to come….nope I said my goodbyes and I didn’t want to see her die I wanted to remember her as she was alive and well. My grandma died in August of that year, my Aunt followed in Feb of 2008 and then my uncle in May of 2008. Holidays stopped being the holidays for me that Christmas…I was just there going along and trying to get through, but it never gets easier.
Grief doesn’t end when the funeral does. It’s only just the beginning.
During the holidays while families get together those of us who don’t have any family have to find a place to go. We have to ask if we can come. No longer do we get invited to anything because of course the funeral is over and everyone has gotten back to their lives. No one thinks to invite the sad widow over for Thanksgiving or for Christmas. I sometimes think it’s an afterthought and other times I think people don’t want that grieving person around. Most people who have no family find themselves alone during these times and this is how depression kicks in. I have children so maybe I’m not as bad off but what if I was completely alone for the holidays like some are. Some people have no children or their kids have families of their own. I myself don’t want to ask anyone if I can come over during the holidays. You feel like a burden, you feel like they don’t really want you to come over they are just being nice, you feel like you don’t really want to go over to see them with their families, their husbands, their parents, it gets to you. So you smile if they do invite you, but deep down you make sure you have a backup plan to be in your own home just in case you don’t feel up to it. Then you make excuses for why you can’t go. My kids are asking to go somewhere practically begging but I don’t want to be a burden and sometimes I feel like I am. For Thanksgiving, we will probably stay home and create something to do. For Christmas, we are going out of town to be around others….I hope that this little piece of travel makes them forget that it’s just us three. Sure my husbands side of the family gets together but you know how that is when you aren’t really a part of that….you feel like it’s forced.
Grief comes in various stages for me its shock then the question of why. Why they did they take my mom and not the bad mom who doesn’t do for her kids, why did they take my husband the good one and leave the husband who beats on his wife? This year I want to incorporate my loved ones into the holiday season. I don’t know if it will help but it’s a start to get through the grieving.
My hubs was named snoop….that was his nickname they said it’s because he looked like Snoopy when he was a baby. So this year we decided to incorporate him into our lives in a unique way. We got some sleeping clothes from Hanna Anderson for the holidays that represented my late husband well. Snoopy! This Christmas I am determined to put a smile on my face and make it special for my kids. I also made sure I got in the picture because normally I never do lol.
This Christmas I want my daughter to know that her dad may not be around but he is always watching. It’s okay to cry and miss him and it’s okay to pretend he is with us. She bought him a gift to put under the tree!
For my son I want him to know that Dad wants him to be the best. Dad always wanted him to be a better boy than he was especially during the age of puberty and big life changes. Dad would be proud that you are a pretty decent young man.
For me….I want the hubs to know that I am holding down the fort. It’s tough being a single mom but we are doing okay. Not 100% but we are doing good. BTW this was the hubs lunchbox I saved it as a keepsake
How are you dealing with grief this holiday season? How do you incorporate your loved ones?
I want to wish everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving. If you know someone who has lost someone please please please reach out to them. Even if it’s just a text to say hope your holidays are going good.