It doesn’t matter if it happened 9 months ago or 9 years ago, losing someone you love is hard, and it seems like the pressure comes to a boiling point once the holiday music starts playing everywhere you go. Here are a few ways to cope and keep your loved one’s memory alive during the holiday season.
It’s hard to carry on with holidays as they used to be when someone you love is no longer present. My first Christmas without my mother was agony. It was her favorite holiday and my family tried to do all of the things that she would’ve done and it only made us feel worse in the end. Significant time has passed and yes, people are correct when they say that time has a way of healing, but I like to infuse pieces of what my mom did to make my family’s holiday special so it feels like she’s still here. Christmas Eve was spent listening to Christmas music, baking treats and opening one present before bed and that is something that I want to continue as my close friend group and family expands.
While I believe that one should give back year-round, it always feels good to do so around the holidays. If they had a favorite charity, then that is easy for you, but you can think out of the box, too.Was your loved one an animal lover? Maybe it makes sense to volunteer at the SPCA a couple of times. If they loved children, maybe offer your talents in tutoring or supporting a cause that improves a child’s life. If Christmas was their holiday (you know what I mean), consider adopting a family. Whatever cause they most aligned with, a donation in their honor leaves a little piece of them with the person (or puppy) that you touch, and that is magical.
The world we live in could use a little extra kindness, a little bit of extra care. We can’t change people but we can change how we act and react. Perhaps next time you’re in line to buy coffee, take care of the person behind you. If you see someone who is hungry, maybe buy them a meal when you’re grabbing your lunch. I know many people hold the door for elderly and pregnant women, but what about the person who is carrying a lot in their hands? It doesn’t take much and many opportunities present themselves every day. When you do it, think about your loved one and how good they would’ve felt if that happened to them.
Everyone who I consider a close friend of mine has heard at least one story about my mother or grandmother. It is very therapeutic to talk about them, but it makes me feel even better to share memories with others that knew them. It may be easy to describe a laugh or the type of hug a person would give you, but unless you’ve been embraced by them, you never can quite grasp how it felt, or how after hearing them laugh, you laughed. Celebrating someone’s life by sharing memories can comfort you in ways you cannot imagine.
It’s okay to cry. I know it sounds cliche, but so many of us hold it in and don’t allow for release (except me, I’m a crybaby). You’re not made of steel and acting like you don’t miss someone isn’t fair to you. It’s okay to miss someone. Thinking about someone you love that’s passed means that you are taking time to remember their place in your life. Take the time.
What do you do to keep your loved one’s memory alive? Please share in the comments so we can get through this together!