The holidays are here.  This time of year can bring all kinds of stress and anticipation for you and for your living children. Sometimes, just the anticipation can be the hardest part of the holidays.  You may find that you anticipate that the holiday it is going to be difficult.  You may anticipate that it is going to be sad.  Indeed, it may be sad.  However, it is important to recognize that Christmas, New Year’s, Hanukkah, Kwanza or whatever holiday you may celebrate does not need to be any more difficult than any other day.

My sister was killed December 9 nearly 20 years ago, and the first Christmas for my family and me was definitely hard because it was so new and we were so raw.  The next year as Christmastime rolled around, I said to my parents, “Christmas Day does not have to be any harder than any other day has been.”  Of course, they agreed with me.  It may be harder but it does not have to be harder simply because it is a day that we recognize a particular holiday.

One of the things that you may want to do with your children is for each of you to go out and buy a gift for the child that you have lost and then donate that gift to a charity.  One of the things I used to buy for my sister, Lucy, every year was a new pair of flannel pajamas.  The reason was because she kept taking mine and I was tired of that, so I figured that I would go buy her very own pair.  Granted it was not the same as taking your brother’s but she would have a new pair any ways.  For the last 17 years, every Christmas I keep the same tradition of buying her a new pair of flannel pajamas but now I donate them to a charity.  This is my way of remembering her and our tradition every year.  I make the donation to a women’s shelter because my sister liked helping other’s in need at the shelters.

I get a great sense of joy in the holidays in doing something nice in Lucy’s memory for someone else.  So, as these holidays come around, keep in mind that you and your living children don’t have to suffer or have to be unusually sad on your special holiday as you celebrate.  Although you may be sad, just remember that you don’t have to be.  It is a time of celebration and remembrance!


Zander Sprague

Zander Sprague is the GO TO Speaker, Author and Coach for Sibling Loss. His mission is to help sibling survivors define their loss, choose a positive pathway and fully participate in their life. In December of 1996, Zander’s sister was murdered. All of a sudden, he found himself thrust into a very unfamiliar world; depression, loneliness, lifelessness, feeling of despair. Although he had a lot of love and support of his family and friends, he found that he alone had to choose a positive pathway to healing and recovery. Then in October of 2007, just as the first edition of his book, Making Lemonade: Choosing A Positive Pathway After Losing Your Sibling was coming out, his sister in-law had a massive cerebral hemorrhage and died at the age of 35. She left a husband and a 3-year-old daughter behind. Again, Zander had to choose a positive pathway to recover from this horrible loss. Zander has studied many modalities of coaching and is currently on track to get his certification as a From Heartbreak to Happiness® grief coach from the Grief Coach Academy. With his own personal experience of loss and this training, it has allowed Zander to help other sibling survivors to choose their own Positive Pathway™ to a rewarding life.

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