Last year, an article in Psychology Today stated, “It’s Alright To Be Sad During The Holidays.” As if our sadness asks permission. It’s inevitable, isn’t it, that this time of year drudges up some melancholy moments? As caregivers, our days and weeks are made up of griefs. We grieve the people we cared for who have passed of course. We also grieve as our family members age and change and as our relationships with them evolve. And during the holidays, when life is supposed to be so Rockwellian, but it isn’t, those griefs surface.
Fighting is futile. With the lights, the music, the forced family togetherness, we can’t avoid our feelings. We can eat them!
Just kidding, sort of, but we can also honor them – give them the space they require, and quite frankly, deserve. Why not let those emotions surface? You miss someone? Give them some head space. Remember what you loved about them. Honor their memory. Feeling weepy? Let the tears fall. Personally, I love a good cry. Why not share your story or memory and make it a part of this year’s celebration?
I miss my mother this Christmas. I miss the song she sang every single time she plugged in the ceramic Christmas tree that she made. I have her tree now in my dining room and I hear her voice every night when I turn it on.
I miss her ironing my tablecloths and then telling me, “I did the best I could.” Every year. It used to annoy me because tablecloths are the least of my housekeeping inadequacies and I interpreted her comment as a judgement on my homemaking skills. Now I’d love to hear her say that. This year I brought all my tablecloths to my dry cleaner. He’ll make them perfect.
I miss my Dad giving me a Christmas present. Not because it was anything I wanted. It was a flashlight. Every year. “You can’t have enough.” One year it was a pocket-sized flashlight to keep in a purse. Another year it was metal and heavy – doubled as a weapon and meant to be kept in my car. I still have most of the flashlights so I don’t need a gift from my father. What I really miss is my Dad being young and able enough to participate in gift-giving. You know what I am buying him this year? A flashlight. He’ll love it.
Who and what are you missing this holiday season? Go ahead. Let it out.