Losing a loved one hurts a lot. It’s a pain that never really goes away, it just becomes a little more bearable as time goes on. And while I am grateful that my religious beliefs are that we will see our loved ones again someday in the eternities, there is still the hurts of missing your lost loved one during the rest of your time here on earth. And it can be especially hard to deal with missing those you’ve lost during the holiday season.
It tends to be the little things about them we miss most – their smile, the inside jokes you shared with each other, their hugs, the way they laughed, the way they listened and understood you, walking together, crying together, celebrating life’s important moments together, praying together, and a million other little things… I miss my loved ones that I’ve lost and there isn’t a day that goes by that they don’t have a part of my heart…
I think it is only natural that the holidays are when we tend to miss those we’ve lost most because its a time when family, and friends who felt like family, come together. It’s the time of year we feel greater love toward those still living and we feel greater loss for those who aren’t.
I don’t have the perfect solution for how to deal with the hurt of loss during this season but I will share a few things that I’ve found help:
*Doing something special “in memory of” a person you lost during the holiday brings me tremendous peace and helps me feel closer to the person who died. Think of something that meant a lot to the person you lost and do an act of service in their name that they would have been excited about. For example if the person loved to read you could collect children’s books and place a sticker in the front of each book saying it is donated in loving memory of the person’s name that has passed on and then deliver those to a local children’s hospital. If they loved teddy bears you could collect and donate those, if they loved playing games you could collect games and take them to a hospital or rest home, and so on.
*If the person that passed was someone who was known for helping others you could set a goal for yourself to help someone in need every day this month in honor of your friend that passed.
*Incorporate a new tradition of having each person share a favorite story of the person who passed on Christmas Eve so you are including the memory of that person in your annual tradition.
*If the person who passed had a favorite dish you can serve it each year at your celebration in memory of them.
*Buy a gift that the person who passed would have loved you to give them for Christmas and give it to someone is need.
We can’t change that we aren’t able to with those we have lost this holiday season, but we can still include them as a joyous part of our holiday celebrations.
With love and encouragement,
~Amy Rees Anderson (author of the book “What Awesome Looks Like: How To Excel in Business & Life” )