Anticipation of holidays can be so hard when you lose someone you love. Time really does help. But sometimes the holidays bring on these emotions you don’t expect. The good news is that the anticipation is usually worse than the day/time you were anticipating.
You should always be prepared for what you may feel and plan something that will help you honor that person. Light a candle, tell a story about them, send a balloon up with a note or take just plan some time to think about them. It doesn’t have to be anything major, just so you are prepared and allow yourself to feel whatever emotions come your way.
It doesn’t always have to be a holiday. What about when it’s not. Sometimes you go on with your day and you do something that reminds you of your loved one and as you start to feel these emotions, they catch you by surprise.
Recently a tree fell on my deck. I was very lucky. Just a broken screen and a couple of cracked rail caps. I went and bought the rail caps and put them on myself. I was ready to pick up the phone and call my stepfather and brag. But, I remembered that he died a few years back. I remembered things like when I had a question about something broken I called him. When I fixed something on my own, I called him and he was always proud. It’s been a while since he died, but it still had that twinge of “I miss him.” I don’t ever want that to go away.
For me this year it was a different than past holiday seasons. Thanksgiving seemed to be very small this year. I always had a large group, around 20 people. Everyone seemed to have different plans this year. It turned out to be 2 friends, my 2 kids and myself. Later the evening a friend’s daughter in law came with her kids.
Christmas was smaller too. My kids are older now and don’t want or need much. Opening gifts was much quicker and my older son went to his girlfriend’s house. My other son and I were here, just hanging out. I took a nap and he played video games. It was a reality check for me. I realized that my family was not only small, but it’s shrunk. Now my kids will be doing their own thing and I get a small portion of their time. For now, I’ll take what I have.
I’ve been dealing with the empty nest and seeing lots of changes in my life and family. As the New Year approaches I realize that it’s time to kick start the next stage in my life. Like adding some new traditions. As I adjust to less time with my kids and a small family I know that things are changing and the things I do need to change.
I’ve decided that this coming year is going to be the year of new traditions and new beginnings. Whether grieving a loss or the fact that a new stage of life is coming, we need to change with the loss or the new stage of life. Why not take some old traditions and combine them with some new.