Tuesday, November 22, 2011

When the Holidays are Hard

Hey Friends ~

Happy almost Thanksgiving to you!

Although the song will soon tell us "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" ~ the reality is that the holidays can be an extremely painful, stressful and lonely time.

I know this all too well.

As you know, it was during the Christmas season that my fiance David was killed
.

While everyone was singing Christmas carols, baking goodies, and wrapping their presents ~ I was a heartbroken single mom left with a pile of broken dreams.

It was horrible.

Thankfully my family was very understanding, and the homeless teens I worked with at The Salvation Army made me, Jake and my mom a Christmas dinner that year I'll never forget.

Do you know someone who is having a hard time this Thanksgiving/Christmas season?

A single mom?

Someone who is facing a "first Thanksgiving and/or Christmas"?

(I try every holiday to think of anyone who will be going through this holiday for the first time without their husband, dad, mom, grandparent, etc.. Even though the death may have been months ago, "first's" are extremely difficult. Trust me.)

A family with a recent job loss? Health crisis? Family estrangement?

Obviously I'm not a trained therapist (just learned stuff the hard way), but
I'll be back tomorrow to share my Top 10 ways to come alongside of others when the holidays are hard....

Have you been through a difficult holiday season? What was helpful to you (or not helpful). I'd love to hear your thoughts, ideas, and stories!

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*. See you tomorrow for Part 2! :)

Happy Thanksgiving ~



4 comments:

kendal said...

we lost my 22-year-old nephew two years ago, six days before christmas. it was sudden, completely unexpected and rocked my family's world. we had our christmas anyway. it was sad. it was quiet. people left the room as needed, but we came together anyway because we would have fallen apart without each other. we have chosen not to ignore any holidays or places or topics of conversation. might not work for others, but healing has come here....

Jamie said...

I cannot wait to see your list - I know two people (neither) super close to me, but I know them none the less, one lost a father and the other a husband! Thanks for posting this.

Crystal said...

We have had a run of bad holidays. Every year (07, 08, 09, and 10) we have lost a close family member between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Needless to say, we are gun shy this year!!!! Two of those four years friends brought over deliveries of Christmas cookies, which was great for our children because I had no physical, mental, or emotional energy to bake. We minimized everything else - did not send cards (except for 07 b/c the death did not happen until Dec. 16 so my cards were already done) and the world did not end! Minimized decorating and did not give gifts to anyone other than our children.
What would have been helpful? This is so hard to say since the cookies were all anyone offered to us. We got a few sympathy cards, but not much. The deaths were three of our four parents and a very close uncle that we were primary caregivers for - so maybe people think that when the person who dies is "old" that makes it okay. I don't know. Despite our own sadness, we spent any energy we did have supporting surviving parents with meals and housecleaning, etc. I guess since we were doing so much for them our own situation at home sort of fell apart. Perhaps an offer to even go shopping with a list would have been helpful. I realize that people don't generally offer to bring meals when the death is not within in your own household. But in all of these situations, the deaths were following illnesses in which we were spending all of our non-work time traveling. In the case of the uncle, only 20 miles, but in the case of two parents, 75 miles one way, and for my father, I was spending three or four days of every week three states away for two months. You can imagine the toll this took on our budget!!!! We are just now catching up, and his was the first death in 2007! Thank you for writing about this topic. Only those who have been through a loss or a difficult holiday can even begin to understand that this is not the 'happy' time for everyone.

Crystal said...

We have had a run of bad holidays. Every year (07, 08, 09, and 10) we have lost a close family member between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Needless to say, we are gun shy this year!!!! Two of those four years friends brought over deliveries of Christmas cookies, which was great for our children because I had no physical, mental, or emotional energy to bake. We minimized everything else - did not send cards (except for 07 b/c the death did not happen until Dec. 16 so my cards were already done) and the world did not end! Minimized decorating and did not give gifts to anyone other than our children.
What would have been helpful? This is so hard to say since the cookies were all anyone offered to us. We got a few sympathy cards, but not much. The deaths were three of our four parents and a very close uncle that we were primary caregivers for - so maybe people think that when the person who dies is "old" that makes it okay. I don't know. Despite our own sadness, we spent any energy we did have supporting surviving parents with meals and housecleaning, etc. I guess since we were doing so much for them our own situation at home sort of fell apart. Perhaps an offer to even go shopping with a list would have been helpful. I realize that people don't generally offer to bring meals when the death is not within in your own household. But in all of these situations, the deaths were following illnesses in which we were spending all of our non-work time traveling. In the case of the uncle, only 20 miles, but in the case of two parents, 75 miles one way, and for my father, I was spending three or four days of every week three states away for two months. You can imagine the toll this took on our budget!!!! We are just now catching up, and his was the first death in 2007! Thank you for writing about this topic. Only those who have been through a loss or a difficult holiday can even begin to understand that this is not the 'happy' time for everyone.

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