Hanging On Through the Holidays

The music, smell of gingerbread, and shimmering lights usually stir up warm holiday memories, but this year something is missing. Actually someone is missing, and the holiday cheer seems to be making things worse.

My most intense journey of grief came suddenly, beginning weeks before the holidays with the death of my mom. “Beazy” was more than a mom; she was my best friend. The thought of Christmas without her was impossible to imagine. If you’ve lost someone close this year, you may understand. Maybe you’re wondering how you’ll be able to hang on through the holidays. If you’re tempted to pull the covers over your head and hibernate through December, don’t give up. Hopefully one of these tips will bring a smile this season.

Keep it fresh.

You may have seen Beazy on the interstate. She was the cautious driver with loud Christmas music playing and a wreath on her blue Honda. After her death, some of the most comforting moments I recall were spent writing in my journal, remembering her hilarious stories. The journal was also a safe place, somewhere I didn’t have to pretend everything was okay. You might want to consider creating a place to keep your memories, photos, and special recipes. Telling the classic stories of the person you’re missing this holiday season and in years to come is a beautiful way to honor their memory.

Keep it Simple.

Can you imagine December without a manic pace of cooking, decorating, entertaining, shopping, and events? Would you consider taking a break from the insanity this year, and experiencing the parts of the holidays you love? With the hard work of grief, this is a perfect time to think about letting stressful holidays go, maybe forever. Whether you’ll be celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, simplifying your schedule can create a little calmness during a chaotic season of life.

The Blessing Box

Is there a gift your loved one gave you, not a tangible gift but something else? Think about something you received, because they were part of your life. Maybe it was the gift of laughter or compassion. Darcie D. Sims, Director of the American Grief Academy, suggests writing whatever comes to your mind on small strips of paper and putting them in a box. Keep the box somewhere close. Whenever you open your blessing box, you’ll be reminded of the person you’re missing and the unique gifts they gave you. One of the treasured gifts in my blessing box is the unconditional love Beazy gave me. I’m smiling right now just thinking about her gift.

Hold your priceless gifts close this holiday season.

Beth Marshall is the author of A Time to Heal, a grief journal. Learn more at https://atimetohealjournal.com/.



Beth Marshall

Beth Marshall

More Articles Written by Beth

Beth Marshall is a freelance journalist, speaker and author of two grief-related books. Grief Survivor, 28 Steps toward Hope and Healing; and A Time to Heal, a grief journal. After losing three close people in her life, Beth felt crushed and overwhelmed by the intense emotions of grief. As she began to write about her "uniquely awesome" family members, Marshall eventually began to smile again- and even laugh. Her hope is to help others discover joy-filled life after loss.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Raina Phillips says:

    My Mother died last Oct. (10th) 2012. Her last years were very stressful for me as she had many healthy issues, and was in the mid stages of Alzheimer’s. I used to say beginning stages, but looking back, I know it was further along than I admitted.
    I am an only child..47 years old. My Dad died 10/31/96 when I was 30. I was VERY close to him and being younger his death affected me REALLY bad.
    I am a born again Christian, as was my Mom. I moved her to GA from AZ in 2006. She hated GA, but loved being w/me & my family here.
    My reason for writing & looking into this site is I carry EXTREME guilt over my mom’s last year on this earth. I cannot let go of some of the MANY feuds we had over her addiction to shopping, mainly on J-TV. I was constantly canceling her orders, confronting her..causing her to be angry at me for treating her like a child. We did actually reverse roles the last year of her life.
    There is so much I could write, but that is the “jist” of my reasons for looking at this site.
    My daughter is almost done with school to be a Therapist/Psychologist. One of her Professor’s suggested she look at this site for one of her classes and she reccomended it to me.
    Is there any sort of specific “guilt” area on here for me to read? I am going to start a journal..I am absolutely dreading the holiday’s again. Last year we (hunny & me) went to Seattle, WA to spend the holiday’s w/our daughter & g-daughter. This year we’re staying home, celebrating with “local” family.