Dealing With Grief During the Holidays

It’s hard when you are dealing with grief during the holidays. Grief is hard enough. Then you add the cheer that’s all around you.

When my husband died on Thanksgiving, I remember going Christmas Shopping in early December. People were so happy and cheerful. I felt so alone. Nobody could even come close to understanding the loneliness and sadness I was feeling.

As hard as it was I had to just go on and remember that the people around me don’t know what happened to me. And they should be enjoying the holidays.

As much as I wanted to I couldn’t. It was everything I could do to go out in public without crying. But I managed. The one thing I learned is that people didn’t understand and I unfortunately had to just deal with it. Sure I could have played the violin but I knew that there was no way for people to know or understand unless they were in my shoes.

I learned early on that you can’t fault people for not understanding and that even though I was the one grieving I had to give people the benefit of the doubt.

My saving grace was that I went to a bereavement group. That helped keep me from feeling so alone even though I was. Don’t get me wrong, there were people around. My parents even came in and stayed with me for a while. But I the alone is the feeling inside. You can be in a crowded room and feel alone. That’s when I learned the true meaning of feeling alone.

So what do you do over the holidays? Well it’s not easy, but you have to give yourself permission to change your mind. You may feel great today but not tomorrow. The best thing to do is to make plans with the preface that you may not feel up to it that day. Knowing that you have plans and that it’s ok to change your mind makes all the difference in the world.

You will be surprised at how much people will understand. I always tell people that they can use me. You can too. If you have plans and you decide last minute you aren’t up for it, tell them Jackie gave you permission to change your mind for at least one year after your loss.

Remember, dealing with grief over the holidays is hard, but not impossible. Keep your chin up and do the best you can.

Feeling That Holiday Spirit

As I sit and wrap gifts I am really feeling that holiday spirit. In my house, nobody really wants much nor do we need much. So we are decorating and I am looking forward to making cookies, spending time with family and friends.

We’ve already started driving around looking at the lights around the neighborhoods. It’s great the was some people go all out. Other’s decorate more conservative yet beautifully. There are those tacky homes too. But love them all!

Each one is enjoyable in its own right. My older Son got this light that changes colors. He doesn’t want to put lights out front because it would take away from that one. I think he has a point. He’s the one that loves to decorate and make things look good for any holiday.

Knowing that we don’t want or need much is a nice feeling. That means we are in a good place in life. So many have hard times during the holidays. I don’t want to jinx it, but I just want everyone to feel content.

While I’m sitting here, I’m thinking about the fact that I’m pretty much done with my shopping and close to done wrapping. It’s a feeling of being content. On top of that I am sitting here in shorts and a tank top. Love it. The weather is beautiful. It was about 70 today. It’s been that way for about a week.

My mom is coming to visit next week. I hope the weather holds out for her. She would love that. Even if it went down to the 50s I know she’d be happy. I’m looking forward to the holidays this year and I hope you are too. Enjoy what you have and send love into the world and especially for those that need it.

I hope you are feeling that holiday spirit. Think about what you can do to enjoy the holidays! That’s what the holidays should be about.

Ho Ho Holidays are here!

Thanksgiving has passed and the shopping season is in full swing. The Ho Ho Holidays are here! Ready or not, they are here. At my house we are getting ready for our family traditions.

Our traditions have changed over the years. My favorite thing to do is to put the ornaments on my tree. As I pull each ornament out it brings back a memory. It’s like reading your history book each year. At times the kids wanted to help and other times they didn’t. But now I make them help me even if it’s just a little bit.

Picking a favorite ornament isn’t easy either. There’s one that a second mom to my husband made for us using our wedding napkins. The ornament from Disney World is always fun, I loved taking my kids to Disney. Then there’s the Wooden ornament that’s a lobster that has claws that move when you pull the string. Of course the ornaments that are homemade by my kids or my sister, even myself. Of course I could go on, but you get the idea.

Putting on holiday music while sitting in front of a fire with some Hot Chocolate is always a treat. A great way to relax at the end of a long day of shopping.

Wrapping is a fun thing to do too. Although not my favorite, seeing everything wrapped and under the tree is a great feeling of accomplishment.

Watching everyone open on Christmas morning is fun too. And I must say I like seeing what I got too.
It always amazes me how busy the season is and how much people put into it. Driving around and seeing all the house is another tradition. There are so many homes that are beautiful. It’s a great way to enjoy the evening with family. Sometimes I get the kids to go with me too.

And I can’t leave out holiday fun with friends. I love getting together with friends over the holidays. Sometimes it’s the only time we see each other throughout the year. In fact, one friend and I are going to make a resolution to see each other sometime outside of November December.

12 Ideas For Operation Holiday Cheer

bright snowflake12 ideas for Operation Holiday Cheer and to make the best of the rest of this year. There’s so much going on during this time of year it’s really hard to focus. The holidays are coming, Time for the end of the year tax planning. Deciding what to do over the holidays.

Fun is used to describe this time of year, but there are many that don’t feel that way. So many people are alone or don’t have anything to make the holidays a fun time.

My favorite holidays were before I had kids my husband and I used to buy something small and stop by an unsuspecting friend’s house. It was so much fun to do. People were always pleasantly surprised. You could feel the holiday cheer in the air. That was before the whole random acts of kindness or pay it forward movements.

Once my husband passed away it was hard to do that. I had my 2 kids and it just wasn’t feasible. In more recent years I’ve donated to families through different organizations or just to people I knew needed it. It’s such a warm feeling. This year I’ve seen and heard about how much people have gotten away from spending time together. I don’t think this is anything new but people are seeing it more now.

operation holiday cheer

Get the end of year stuff taken care of and then find some things to do to help spread the holiday cheer for you and for others. Here’s some things you can do to spend more time together and make the most of the rest of this year.

  1. Go to a light exhibit with the family.
  2. Watch a movie on television. Bring the popcorn.
  3. Make cookies together.
  4. Don’t forget about game night.
  5. Decorate your house inside and out.
  6. Buy gifts for people you don’t normally buy for and stop by or just leave it at the door anonymously.
  7. How about bringing a box of dog bones to a shelter.
  8. Why not go to a homeless shelter and help serve food.
  9. Children’s hospital can always use gifts for the kids that are in there long term.
  10. Visit a nursing home or assisted living with some cookies or even cute homemade gifts by kids or flowers.
  11. Donate blood.
  12. Sit in front of a fire and roast marshmallows.

Now that you have a list, talk to your family or friends and see what you can do this year to change the atmosphere of the end of the year. You will feel your heart grow.