Tag Archives: memories

Holiday Grief: To Tree or Not to Tree

holiday_grief_hi_res JPG Cover FINALHoliday Grief – Tip # 2

Often times when we are facing Christmas without our loved one, especially if it’s the first holiday season since their death, we ponder whether it is worth our time and energy, and sometimes our money, to put a tree up with all the decorations.

Perhaps you want to simply skip the holiday all together…after all, it would be so much easier, wouldn’t it?

But when it comes to deciding on a tree or to forgo this tradition, at least this year, you’d want to consider whom that decision might impact the most.

If you have children who are grieving the death of a parent or sibling, it might be wise to have a family meeting and softly discuss what you are thinking and get their feedback on your ideas. You might be wildly surprised to learn that they want Christmas to remain exactly as it has been in years past because they don’t want any traditions changed.

They might be feeling that the person who died would want them to celebrate just as you did in the past.

And if that is too much for you, there are options.

Maybe the compromise is a smaller tree with fewer lights and ornaments.

Maybe you can use a plant, instead, and decorate it with a strand of tiny white lights and instead of ornaments use red silk ribbon tied in soft bows that you just lay on the leaves.

Maybe the children would like to put up a small tree in their room and decorate the way they wish.

There are so many options. Put your thinking cap on, get ideas from your family and friends and, most of all, don’t discard the feelings and wishes of your spouse and children.

My book Holiday Grief: How To Cope with Stress, Anxiety and Depression After a Loved One’s Death is available now by clicking here.

Let us know how you’ve remembered your loved one during the holiday season by commenting below.

Holiday Grief: How to Remember Your Loved One

holiday_grief_hi_res JPG Cover FINALHoliday Grief – Tip # 1

One of the most asked questions is “How do I remember my loved one at Christmas and the holidays?” And the answer is…in so many ways.

Just your thoughts of them honor their memory, but there are practical ways, too.

Visiting their resting place and leaving flowers, balloons and even tucking cards and notes in the soil expressing how you feel and how much you miss them.

Having a placesetting at your holiday table with a rose across their dish.

Leaving their stocking on the mantel and extending an invitation to your children and loved ones to leave a note or small symbolic gift in it.

If a child has died, perhaps the toys that would have been given to your children from you and others in your family can be given to a grieving children’s support group after the holidays.

While at dinner, you can suggest that each dinner guest share their favorite story about the loved one who has died or was killed, in an effort to keep their memory alive while bringing laughter and joy to everyone. Even if there are tears, it’s perfectly ok…someone will come up with a funny story that will lighten the mood.

Make a contribution in their name to a wonderful organization that he or she felt strongly about.

Wear some piece of their clothing or jewelry.

Holidays are also a good time to share some of their belongings with your surviving family members. If grandpa had a favorite watch, perhaps it’s meant for your teenage son who loved him so dearly. Having that watch can bring comfort knowing he now can remember the wonderful times he saw his grandfather wear that watch when they were together.

You can also take a bunch of balloons, write messages on them in felt pen and let them float into the heavens either in your backyard, at the cemetery, or another memorable place.

These ideas should help you think of others which would make you feel better.

My book Holiday Grief: How To Cope with Stress, Anxiety and Depression After a Loved One’s Death is available now by clicking here.

Let us know how you’ve remembered your loved one during the holiday season by commenting below.

Memories at Holidays

As I work through my “to do” list this Christmas season, I find myself thinking about all the people who have left my life. Some have died and some are still living.

Those who have died take an added measure of thought. I decorate with ornaments and beautiful trinkets that they won’t enjoy admiring with me, purchase gifts that they won’t get, wrapping presents that they won’t open.

I miss that I can’t call them to tell them all that is going on with me this season…the good and bad. And while some have moved from my life for decades now, I find them coming to mind.

There was a time when I thought it would be better if I’d never thought of these folks again, simply because it was too painful. Especially soon after their deaths I thought this way.

But as time moved on, I came to think differently. I came to a place where it was comforting in a strange sort of way. Comforting because it was really the only way I could have a piece of them in my life.

And now, while it still stabs at my heartstrings when I realize I can’t have them here any longer, I am grateful for just the little things like memories of good times, things they said, things they did, gifts they gave me at other Christmas long ago. I think of special days we spent together, how they made me laugh and how we acted silly at times.

I guess what bothers me the most is that I’ll never have that back again. But I guess the love I shared with each unique person I’ve loved and who has gone now, can never be replaced exactly the same way with any other person who is now or will come into my life. It’s just the way it is.

So I try to be content with the memories because I can’t get back their presence. And even with all the pain I’ve endured with each person who left before me, no one can ever take my memories from me.