The holidays can be a stressful time for everyone. When you have lost a loved one, the holidays can be filled with mixed emotions of joy and sorrow. After the loss of my mother, the first Thanksgiving and Christmas were filled with a sense of displacement. My mother always hosted the holidays at her home. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and birthdays were always a celebration with many family and friends.
After my mom passed away that all changed. The first few years were an adjustment. I was blessed to be included in my sister’s family festivities and when my dad moved back to California we were able to start new family traditions.
Over the holidays my home is still filled with memories of my mother’s love for the holidays. I have combined my new holiday decorations and traditions with some of my mom’s favorites. Making my mom’s favorite holiday recipes each year helps me connect with her spirit and makes me feel like she is right there with me.
As we move into the holiday season, remember that your friends and family members that have lost a loved one may be experiencing deep feelings of loss. Be sure to take the time to connect with them and let them know that they are loved.
Here are a few ways to be the gift they were hoping for this holiday season:
- Invite your loved one to join you for your holiday gathering. As family members pass away, traditions change and a loved one may not be able to spend the holidays with their family. Including them in your family festivities will help ease the loneliness they may be feeling this time of year.
- Make a special date to go to dinner, have coffee, or to go shopping to have some private one-on-one time. This special time will allow them the opportunity to talk about their feelings.
- Help them with holiday arrangements. If they are hosting a holiday gathering, offer to help them prepare the food or offer to go shopping for them to take a little stress off of their shoulders. Ask if they would like you to prepare a favorite food that may have been a family tradition.
- Take them out for a special day of pampering to a spa or to have a massage. Relaxation and pampering will assist both of you with the stress of the holidays.
- Celebrate the memories of their loved one by sharing stories and going through photo albums together. This activity will give your friend or family member the opportunity to celebrate their happy memories.
Having the support of friends and family during the holidays can make all the difference. So as you are making out your To Do List for the holidays, be sure to include those friends and family members that might need a little extra love and care this time of year.
©2009 Lori Pederson
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