Keeping The Holidays Joyful After A Loss

I’ve been bracing myself for a difficult holiday season because it’s going to be our first Thanksgiving and Christmas with out my beautiful grandma who passed away in September and our beloved 13 year old Lab, Pepper who passed last week.

It’s that time of year when every commercial and song and magazine ad reminds you of family and causes me to burst in to tears. This past weekend was especially hard. I picked up Pepper’s ashes and it was my grandma’s birthday.  I went to call her and remembered all I had to do was look up at the sky and say, “Happy Birthday, grandma”.

It’s so easy to feel sorry for yourself when the holidays roll around and you’re grieving the loss of a loved one. So, lately I’ve been actively reminding myself that I need to be grateful for having had them in my life and honor their memories. Not only for myself, but for my husband and kids who are grieving too.  My grandmother loved the holidays and she was an awesome cook. I have a bunch of her recipes and I am going to attempt to make one or two of her dishes this year…and laugh at how I can’t hold a candle to her culinary skills!

See, she wouldn’t want me to wallow in self pity and cry and RUIN the holidays. She would want the celebration to continue. My grandma’s life was a gift. Pepper’s life was a gift. Who says those gifts can’t still be shared?  The boys have come up with their own way of honoring their memories….they are going to leave cookies not only for Santa but for grandma and Pepper too. Of course, Pepper’s will be a doggy biscuit.

We’re putting up stockings for them. We’re making their favorite foods, playing favorite songs and yes..doing a little crying along with the laughing and fond remembering. And isn’t THAT what the holidays are all about, anyway?  It’s true what they say about grief, it doesn’t get easier in time, it just gets different. And it’s up to me to make that ‘different’ joyful or sad. I’m choosing joyful.  And one last thing, if you pull out old pictures, remember to enjoy looking back but don’t get stuck in the past.

Here are some pictures of my amazing grandma and sweet Pepper who have already made this holiday season a healing one.

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