Facing First Christmas Without A Loved One

Facing first Christmas Without a Loved One

I am not going to lie to you the first major holiday after a loved one dies is hard and breaks your heart. Right now I go back and forth from happiness, guilt and tears. Happiness bc Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. I love the decorations and the treats but then it hits me that there won’t be a phone call from my dad early Christmas morning wondering when we were getting to their house. My parents always wanted all the grandkids at their house on Christmas morning to open up presents from Santa. I remember those times when it made me so mad to get those  calls as my family was the only one that had to get dressed to drive to Christmas morning at my parents. I used to be mad that unlike my sisters and my nephews we couldn’t just roll out of bed and show up around the Christmas tree on Christmas morning, Now I would do anything just to get a call on Christmas morning to hear my dad say when are you coming over? So that is where the guilt comes in, did I do the best while my dad was alive to show him how much I loved and respected him?

Even now every once in a while I stop my myself and take out my phone to just listen to the voice mail that he left me telling me  to call him if only I could. This isn’t the first major event that we have experienced since his death last January. Soon after his death (less than a month), we experienced his first birthday in Heaven, and then there was my mom’s birthday and what would have been their 55th wedding anniversary and Valentine’s day I focused on getting my mom through this time that I somehow forgot to grieve. It is not easy when you lose a loved one, one moment I am fine and the next I am basket case with tears flowing. It could be something as little as seeing a police car or a someone with a marine corps emblem on the back of their car that will sent me off.

How do I handle it, I let myself grieve- I have myself a good cry and then after I decide to find a project that will give back. Giving back is a big part of that legacy.  Random Acts of Kindness are now on my list to do for not just around Christmas time but all throughout the year, it could be as simple as letting someone go ahead of you in line to letting a car get out in heavy traffic. Or even saying Hello and offering a smile.

So my advice to you if you are looking at Christmas after losing a loved one just go with it. Cry if you need to because bottling up your feelings is not going to help anyone. Plus here is another wonderful idea that my mom does all throughout the year. She has a plate that was given to her several years ago by my sister, Denise that the china pattern is called Karen. She leaves this plate on her table throughout the year and this year she added the pin my dad had made when he was district governor of the Lions club ( which by the way was a police car) to the plate. So every time she sits down to dinner she is always reminded that they are still with us in spirit.

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