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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The holidays can be a difficult time for caregivers and the grieving. Meredith Fields-Lawler shares how to navigate this season with a heart of hope.

But, what if it is not? What if the holiday season is not the most wonderful time of the year? During the holiday season you cannot turn the television on, search the internet or go into a store without being bombarded by holiday cheer. For many of us on the caregiving and/or grief journey this can be a difficult time. This season brings pictures of families all gathered together in complete joy and harmony. There are no images of what the holidays look like with a loved one that is ill or how to grieve through this time.

There are no images of what the holidays look like with a loved one that is ill or how to grieve through this time.

Perhaps this is the last holiday you will be able to share with your loved one or the first holiday without someone you love. Caregiving and grief are full of firsts and lasts and it is so hard to approach the coming weeks knowing that everything will be different. Perhaps you are thinking that this will be the first time Grandpa will not be there to read the Christmas story. Or, that mom will not be able to help make all those pies. Maybe you are approaching the first holiday without your dear child. How? How do you live through the holidays now that nothing is as it should be? Just as you have lived every day since your loss: one moment at a time.

Some people may choose to move through the holidays and attempt to find a new normal without creating new rituals. Others choose to light a candle in their loved one’s memory, set a place at the table where their loved one would have sat or do another activity in memory of a life lost. Both expressions of memory are beautiful and there are no right or wrong ways to honor those we love.

There are no right or wrong ways to honor those we love.

My hope is that you allow yourself a few quiet moments to reflect on what you will need to make the holidays as meaningful and peaceful as possible. Communicate that with others around you and hopefully we support one another as friends and family.

“Someday soon we all will be together if the fates allow. Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow.” My thoughts and prayers go with you this holiday season as we all muddle through somehow and may you have a merry little Christmas.

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