The holidays growing up lead to several traditions in the Schott home. My Mom decorated for each holiday (even after the loss of her son in 2002), making our home very warm and inviting. But Christmas has always been my favorite. The smell of pine, decorating my home, homemade baked goodies, holiday music, Christmas movies and shopping for that one gift that will surely put a big smile on my children’s face.
This year will be different. 10 months ago, my mom, Barb and the grandmother to my three daughter’s passed away at the age of 68. My life since January has been a rollercoaster of emotions. Some days life doesn’t make sense and others I’m rolling with the punches and I don’t have time to grieve. The death of my mom has been very hard. Now as the holidays approach, I feel my heart pulling in two directions. One direction is telling me to decorate, put the tree up and continue the traditions and the other is telling me to skip this year. Of course I am going to celebrate and be festive even though my heart hurts. I would not want to spoil my children’s Christmas for they, too are grieving the loss of their Grandma. Our hearts are very broken. I knew that getting through these first would be hard and I needed to be very intentional about the first holidays.
What do you do when you hurt during the holidays? When someone you love is missing or life has all of a sudden taken a painful turn? While every family deals with difficulty differently, here are some things that might help others who are facing the same heartache as we are.
Take a family trip, or visit family and friends. Being away from ‘reality’ may help take your mind off the harsh reality of grief. Whether you take a few days or a week, going away can ease some of the holiday hardship.
GIVE YOURSELF PEACE OF MIND.
You may not feel up to cooking, baking or decorating your home. It’s OKAY! Give yourself and your family peace of mind to let go of any traditions that are too painful and allow yourself time to adjust to the change. Not every holiday is going to look like this, but having a peace of mind during a difficult holiday will allow time for healing.
DON’T IGNORE THE PAIN.
It is very unhealthy to push through the holidays with only a one-sided face to happiness. Cry and talk it out. The healthiest way to address the pain is to process it head on.
REMEMBER THE GOOD.
Reminisce about holiday memories. Laughter is the best medicine. Despite the pain, there is always plenty of good to celebrate and remembering the memories will help work through your grief.
FOCUS ON OTHERS.
Being encouraging and supportive of others is reason for your hope. With this you can start a new tradition. I recommend making every day in December count. Each day in December you get to bless someone.
Holidays are an especially difficult time when you are hurting. But there are things you can do to help. Taking these steps may not only help, but will bring some measure of healing.
If you are facing hardship this holiday, please know that you are not alone. Ask yourself, what steps can I take to help someone in need? How can I help someone who is having a painful Holiday?