The Holidays are HARD. Most people you talk to who are missing someone they love would rather fast forward through the next six weeks than go through the day to day reminders that other people are happy. Happy people seem even more happy – big smiles, twinkly eyes – in contrast to the life we are living. Curse the happy people lol
So you are allowed, if your heart is hurting, to handle the next few weeks however you need to. You can choose not to decorate and close the blinds and wait it out if you want. It might feel easier, or perhaps I should put it as less painful, to avoid trying to navigate family gatherings, and holiday music, and the memories contained in each ornament and tradition. That is okay. Breathe in, and breathe out and January 1st will be here before you know it. You will get through.
If you decide to try and do the Holidays as you always have I think you just need to go in with the knowledge that some days you might be sad. I think the worst thing is when you get caught off guard by your emotions. You could be baking gingerbread cookies and all of a sudden you remember all the times you spent at the island rolling out and decorating stars and trees with your sweet child and before you know it you’re up to your elbows in flour and feelings. So go into the holidays prepared to have a few moments. Or more than a few moments. Just allow yourself that space.
Heading into my fourth holiday season without Luke I know there are things that I had to give up to get through. Take cards. Holiday cards were my thing. We always loved to share pictures of our boys as they grew each year, but we were never those people who took a family photo in front of the fireplace in matching sweaters. Well, to be truthful, we did try one year, but it was a complete disaster. lol Everyone looking in different directions; Logan squirming around. Sigh. Just couldn’t get that camera timing down. Anyway, after Luke died I contemplated many ways to keep the card tradition going, but none of them felt right. So, I let it go. Just like that.
Some traditions have stayed the same. I have a box of homemade ornaments for both of my boys. I had always kept them thinking as they grew older and went out on their own I would give them their own little box of treasures to decorate their first trees. Every year I pull out the boxes and smile thinking about Luke and Logan at each stage and how adorable they were. I still do this. It makes me tear up as I go through both boxes, but at the same time it reminds me that we were happy then. Luke was happy. It helps my heart.
Some traditions are new. I have a white, LED powered candle that I put in my girls room. I set the timer to come on at the same time every evening and when it does I imagine that Luke is thinking of me and I am thinking of him at exactly the same in. I love this because it forces me to stop for a moment and be intentional about my relationship with my boy during a very busy time of the year. For the length of time the candle glows I feel like Luke and I are together. For something so simple, it has a magical effect. I also try and find a new ornament or knick knack that reminds me of the Lukester. I have embraced birds, hearts, feathers, angels – anything that makes me think of Luke. By adding a new item in Luke’s memory every year, it makes it feel like he continues to be an important part of my decorating, our traditions, our family. He lives on.
So if today is your Day One, here’s what I need you to know: I wish there was a foolproof way to navigate the next six weeks, but there isn’t. I wish I could tell you that each year gets progressively easier, but that’s not true either. What I do know is that getting through requires more of a moment to moment kind of strategy. Or in the case of a newly bereaved momma – minute to minute. So go slow. Do what feels right for you and before you know it You will get to January 1st and breathe a sigh of relief. Sending strength and hugs your way. Xxx