So, this is our third Christmas since Scott’s death. I thought that each year would get easier. In so many ways it is the opposite. I didn’t expect it to be harder. I still see things and think, “oh, Scott would like that” or “oh, that would be a good gift idea for Scott.” I still avoid the men’s departments in stores as I cannot walk through or past them without thinking about clothing he would like or would have needed. Scott rarely felt the need to buy clothing for himself. I bought most of his clothing just so I wasn’t embarrassed by the condition of his clothing. (He lived in t-shirts and shorts anywhere he could get away with it, and even some places that it wasn’t quite socially appropriate.) The holidays bring a heightened sense of loss as everything is about family and thinking of or doing things with your loved ones.
I think of my aunt, who is facing her first Christmas since my uncle’s death right after Christmas last year. Christmas for her will look and feel so different this year. It will be hard. Facing all the firsts seemed never ending, but Christmas was one of the biggest first “hurdles.” Holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays are the obvious difficult days. Then there are the random moments that catch you unexpectedly. The holiday season is like walking through a minefield full of those random moments. It is expected that Christmas Day will be hard, but it is those unexpected moments of hearing certain songs, seeing friends and family you haven’t seen in a while who don’t quite know what to say or perhaps haven’t heard about your loss that hit just as hard and sometimes harder than the expected difficult moments.
Take a moment to think of those in your life that have lost someone – whether a miscarriage, loss of a child, spouse, parent, aunt/uncle, sibling, grandparent, or friend. On the widow/widowers Facebook group that I belong to the common theme right now is ideas on how to remember the loved one who is no longer with us. There have been many neat ideas from photo gifts, to Christmas trees decorated only in decorations that remind them of their loved ones – even having a party with guests bringing those special decorations for the tree, to buying one ornament each year in memory. How can you honor the memory and help keep the memory alive for those who have lost someone? I can tell you, talking about memories and knowing that that person is not forgotten is one of the best gifts that can be given at Christmas and any time of the year. But at Christmas when so much is about family, instead of ignoring the hole in the family, take the time to remember them and talk about them.