Grief for the Holidays

It’s been almost six years since the death of my mother, and the holidays still haunt me. Of course, the first few years were the worst, but they continue to be difficult. From November to February I feel as though I am walking in a cloud of nostalgia, missing what used to be and criticizing what has changed now. I feel depressed, alone and anxious for the winter months to be over.

November is hard because of Thanksgiving and my mother’s birthday, which happen to be right around the same time. Then, of course is December where my parent’s wedding anniversary and Christmas are just days apart. January marks the beginning of another motherless year, and February is the anniversary of the fateful day when I saw my mother alive for the last time.

Now I have children, so the holidays represent many different happy things for them. They delight in decorating the house and Christmas tree. They peer excitedly at every shopping mall Santa with hope in their eyes. They do not understand and therefore cannot tolerate a depressed mother during the holidays. Because of this, I know I need to change my view of these difficult months.

This year, I have tried to embrace the difficult days by doing something to honor my mother. During Thanksgiving, my sister and I made my mom’s special mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. For her birthday, I spent the day doing something my mother and I loved to do…shopping! For Christmas, my husband and I hung all of my mom’s favorite ornaments on our tree. We took a poinsettia to her grave, because they always made her feel festive. My daughters and I are going to make her favorite Christmas cookies to share with family on Christmas day.

I hope the steps I’ve taken this year to get out of my holiday funk become yearly traditions. I realize that my poor attitude toward the holidays had an effect on my closest loved ones.

Now that I have two great children who believe in the promises this time of year holds, I will not let anyone ruin it, especially myself

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