Gathering for the holidays has always incorporated faith, family and friends in observance and celebration. And every year at this time we are inundated with emotion derived from the loss of loved ones. We dwell on the memories of holidays past and become so busy feeling badly that we forget what the goodness of the season is all about. If it was important enough to remember sadly, then it’s important enough to remember fondly, because happiness with that loved one is what you are missing. That element gets in the way of healing and we can easily neglect to create new memories that could enhance the ones we embraced through family and tradition.
It is my understanding that our deceased loved ones want us to continue with their traditions and think of them fondly when we do. And the holiday season is a difficult time because we struggle with that, as though being happy would be a sin. They want us to celebrate. They wouldn’t want you to be unhappy and they certainly wouldn’t want you to struggle. It is my experience that they want us to create an awareness of our lives today, making them worth every moment so that we can still pass those moments onto the children of the future.
We do more honor to our loved ones by celebrating with them in mind by incorporating them into a new tradition, and a way to do more than “get through” the holidays.
Here are a few ways you might want to go about adjusting your thinking to help your holiday be a break from grieving, and at the same time heal by making new memories.
- Be aware of your use of holiday colors and share stories relating to them. For instance, one of my grandmothers was a seamstress who loved the color red. When I decorate with that color, I remember the red stocking she handmade for me, and the red satin ornaments on her tree! I make sure to share that story when I am with family and friends. That single act of sharing creates a fond memory for me and keeps my grandmother as a part of the festivities.
- Light a candle at your holiday table in the name of those you wish to remember and toast them with the love and laughter of inclusion.
- Be aware if the danger of dwelling in sadness because it’s easy to encourage more of the same. The next thing you know everyone around you will be depressed too, and a vicious cycle may unfold.
These are just a few ways one can deal with grief during the holiday season, while keeping our loved ones still closely involved in family tradition. It will promote joy and laughter for seasons to come.