I never thought that anyone, especially not the Grinch could really steal Christmas. Well, Dr. Seuss was on to something because, in 2019, Grief Stole My Christmas.
If you recall, in the book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Grinch comes down from his mountaintop home and retreats to Whoville, where he is determined to take away everything holiday-related from the Whos. This is EXACTLY what grief did to my son and me on December 23, 2019.
There is no way that I could possibly celebrate Christmas two days after losing my husband. There was also no way that I was going to ruin Christmas for my 4-year-old son either. So, I did what any mom would do, and we celebrated Christmas as if nothing happened. This will go down in history as one of the HARDEST things that I have ever done as a parent. How did I do it? With the support of friends and family (Pre-Covid), gifts and food were delivered to my parent’s home. My son didn’t miss out on ANYTHING, except his dad, who he thought was on a business trip. I just couldn’t tell him until after Christmas.
Every Christmas from now on will be associated with the death of my husband. What was once, “the most wonderful time of the year” hurts like hell. The sight of Christmas decorations and the opening of holiday cards are just like a gut punch in my stomach.
As a matter of fact, my son doesn’t even associate the death of his father with Christmas. The sacrifice that I made on December 25, 2019, not to cancel Christmas, even though Grief tried to steal it, was the best decision ever. My therapist made me realize that it is a horrible time for me, but not for my son because he was so young. So why take that joy from him?
If Grief tried to steal your Christmas too, here is my advice for the Holidays:
- Give yourself some grace. Your feelings are 100% valid and you DO NOT have to celebrate if you don’t want to.
- It is ok to not want to talk about your loved one.
- Share your feelings with your little ones. They have big feelings too and it lets them know that it is normal.
- Create a new tradition. Do something different.
- Practice self-care. Take care of you. Only you know what you really needed.
I have learned so much about myself as a mom and person since then. This may have worked for us, but it may not work for everyone. I made a conscious decision to celebrate life. After all, that is the true meaning of Christmas. When my son is old enough, I am sure he will have questions and I will be ready to answer them.