You don’t have to bury a child to know that changing long-standing family traditions around holidays is a hard, hard thing.
Just ask a parent trying to work out Thanksgiving and Christmas for the first time after an adult child marries. Suddenly the way things have “always been” are no longer the way things are.
If you’ve decided to try to do things differently this year, you know that means telling other folks who might not like it.
And that’s really hard.
But the sooner you have those conversations, the better.
Because the only thing that makes it worse is procrastinating until it feels like an ambush to your extended family and friends.
Read the rest here: Grief, Holidays and Hard Conversations
Thanksgiving is hard on my heart.
My birthday is usually close to, and sometimes on, Thanksgiving. So we often celebrate them together. What makes that especially painful for me since Dominic ran ahead to heaven is that the last birthday before he left was a surprise party at his apartment.
It was wonderful and loud and fun and filled with laughter and love.
So all those good but achingly hard memories are wrapped up with the turkey and dressing.
Read the rest here: Holidays and Grief: Thanksgiving Plan
When faced with the upcoming holidays and already rapid heartbeat and fading strength, the last thing a bereaved parent wants to hear is , “Make a plan”.
But the truth is, if you don’t it will be so. much. worse.
No one can tell YOU what the plan should be. Each family is unique. Each year brings different challenges-declining health, moves, children or grandchildren born and a dozen other variables that must be accounted forTHIS year versus years past.
Read the rest here: Holidays and Grief: You Need a Plan
I don’t get to choose.
I don’t get to plan the way life is going to be.
Oh, I bring out the calendar and mark down the days: birthdays, holidays, special events and obligations.
But then one dark morning a knock stops the clock and makes the world spin faster all at once.
I’m suspended and plunged under in the same breath.
Read the rest here: Not What I Had Planned
I’m taking the opportunity during July to re-post some articles that have been popular and helpful in the past.
One of the most trying seasons for grieving parents extends from November through the first week of January.
The holidays are hard for so many people, but especially for parents trying to navigate these family focused holidays without the presence of a child that they love.
I know it’s still several months away, but once school starts it seems the weeks roll past faster and faster until suddenly there’s no time to plan and the day is upon us.
I highly recommend speaking to family and friends NOW. Make plans NOW. When folks have plenty of time to make adjustments, it is much more likely they will accommodate a grieving heart’s need for change.
I know it is hard. I know you don’t truly understand how I feel. You can’t. It wasn’t your child.
I know I may look and act like I’m “better”. I know that you would love for things to be like they were: BEFORE. But they aren’t.
I know my grief interferes with your plans. I know it is uncomfortable to make changes in traditions we have observed for years. But I can’t help it. I didn’t ask for this to be my life.
I know that every year I seem to need something different. I know that’s confusing and may be frustrating. But I’m working this out as I go. I didn’t get a “how to” manual when I buried my son. It’s new for me every year too.
So I’m trying to make it easier on all of us.
Read the rest here: Holidays and Grief: What the Bereaved Need From Friends and Family
It cannot be overstated: holidays are extremely hard after loss. Every family gathering highlights the hole where my son SHOULD be, but ISN’T.
There is no “right way” or “wrong way” to handle the holidays after losing a child.
For many, there is only survival-especially the very first year.
These days also stir great internal conflict: I want to enjoy and celebrate my living children and my family still here while missing my son that isn’t. Emotions run high and are, oh so difficult to manage.
Read the rest here: Practical Ideas for Dealing with the Holidays after Child Loss