Christmas TogetherWe're here year round and even though we are scattered all over the world and most of us have never met face-to-face we find ways to celebrate the season together. From our annual Christmas exchanges to scheduled chats our Christmasing together is discussed here.
Wow. Such a tough thing. My condolences for your entire family.
When my sister's husband passed suddenly at the age of 36, leaving behind a 5 year old daughter Christmas was just another in a long line of adjustments for them and for us as we tried to rally around her.
I think the thing we all get caught up in -- besides our grief -- is the aching feeling that it is somehow wrong to "celebrate" or feel good or have fun. That, of course, is wrong but it is so natural given the circumstances.
In my family we have for the most part a very strong belief in the afterlife and that death is a part of living. But the sting of separation and the sudden nature of loss just promotes all these devastating and conflicting emotions that cannot be avoided. So I think the first thing to recognize -- and you have -- is that Christmas IS going to be different.
For my sister, because her daughter was so young, she felt compelled to try to keep things "up" as much as she could. For her it was so very difficult but over time she has told me that she is glad she forced herself that first Christmas to be positive and doing as many of the "normal" things as she possibly could. She said she would have lost Christmas altogether and that it would have become a dreadful time for her each year if not for her daughter and the need to make it special for her.
I think all the things you mention are appropriate. I also think that if you miss something it is ok as well. I would focus on enjoying it as much as you can but don't force anything that doesn't feel right. And pursue as much togetherness as a family as you can.
My situation this year in no way compares to your but our Christmas this year will nonetheless be very, very different. Three of my adult children may not be around this year and I worry about my wife especially and the affect of that on my younger girls. There will no doubt be some melancholy times. Sandy and I have talked about it and one of the things we're going to do is we're going to remember. We're pulling out the old photos and videos and we're going to have a good time with those.
We did that the first Christmas after Mike died (my sister's husband) and it was a hoot because the funeral was far behind us and we had grieved so long over it all. It was a release of sorts to have everyone around and remembering the good times and what made his special. There was laughter and tears, for sure. But it was all good.
We learned enough from that night that we turned it into kind of a tradition each season and we celebrate all those who we had Christmas with before. In a way it allows us to still have Christmas with them.
I hope you know we love you here and we're so feeling for your loss and feelings this season. You've been with us a long time and you know how these things are stuff we share. We will learn through you and I hope you know you've got friends who are concerned for you here and want to do all we can to be of help.
If you can find it in your heart to contact me privately, I'd like to share some other ideas with you. No pressure. But send me a PM. It is Christmas and this is what we do. We are concerned for you and yours.
I feel for you; I know what you're going through. My mother-in-law died on Christmas Eve a few years ago. It was rough - all those "firsts" particularly. You're never going to forget; it will just become less raw over time.
It's a harsh reality but life does go on. I was registering a death at work the other day and my colleague was registering a birth. The gentleman whose mother had died commented on that fact and said how much his mother loved babies.
You'll remember all the things that he did. The good and the bad. You'll start off with the good and then get round to the things that he did that bugged you!!!!!!!!
Please know that you're never alone. It's sometimes easier to talk to strangers than it is to your immediate family so know that there is always someone here to listen and offer a shoulder or advice or even a virtual hug.
Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other
That we are still
Call me by my old familiar name
Speak to me in the easy way you always used
Put no difference into your tone
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed
At the little jokes we always enjoyed together
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was
Let it be spoken without effort
Without the ghost of a shadow in it
Life means all that it ever meant
It is the same as it ever was
There is absolute unbroken continuity
What is death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind
Because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you for an interval
Somewhere very near
Just around the corner
All is well.
Nothing is past; nothing is lost
One brief moment and all will be as it was before
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!
Look after yourself xxx
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Did he have any favorite traditions at Christmas? Favorite movies? Favorite activities? Favorite restaurant? Favorite treats? Maybe you could designate a day to celebrate in his honor by doing something he would have loved. Put it on the calendar and invite whoever you would like to share it with (ie family members, close friends, etc.).
I know every situation/family is different so what works for one doesn't work for another, but I know of several families who come up with a charitable idea in memory of a loved one who has passed on. For example, I know one family who lost a son and every year they do a toy drive in their son's name. They collect brand new toys and then donate them to a children's hospital to give to their inpatients. Something like that doesn't take away how much you will miss him, especially during the holidays, but maybe doing something like that in his name would be therapeutic, and certainly a way to honor him and his life.
I agree with what others have said...your family needs to decide what you are comfortable with doing or not doing. There is no right way or wrong way, do what works for you.
I am so sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you. I don't know if you are Christian or not so I'm not sure whether to say this or not. (I would never want to show disrespect to the beliefs of others). But I guess I'll say it anyway. I definitely have a strong belief in life after death and your stepson is probably closer than you think. I hope you can feel peace during this difficult time and feel the love of those around you here on earth, as well as from those in heaven.
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First of all, my deepest sympathies to you and your family.
I guess I would say to do what feels comfortable for you for this first Christmas after such a tragedy and not get too far ahead of yourself planning.
Take each event as it comes.
The tears will flow- let them.
Do your best to carry on and remember that celebrating this special day doesn't mean you aren't loyal in your memories of your loved one.
God will bless and guide you through the months ahead.
First off, let me express my deepest sympathy for your loss and your entire family. No words or actions could express what you have been, are, or will go through with this difficult loss. God Bless you.
I when I was in high school, which I am 26 now, my grandmother passed away on Christmas Eve. It was unexcepted - to us she was young - in her 60's, so it was very hard for my family. Plus when I was 3, my grandfather passed away from a horrible, fast cancer, so I never really knew him. He died two days after Christmas. These were both my dad's parents. Christmas has always been hard for my dad.
Since my grandmother had passed away on Christmas Eve, we didn't stop any of rituals. We still did everything same. I am not sure if my dad would have did it differently if we still wouldn't have lived at home, but we all stuck together, as a family, with my uncles, aunts, and cousins and really pulled together. As other people have stayed in their posts, it really is up to you what is most comfortable for you and your family. If you find that there is something you want to add or omit, then you do so.
I think it would be a great idea to do something special for him this Christmas or every Christmas, or some part of the year. Something to keep him in memory. I know it's not huge, but at Christmas and Easter, we have masses said for all of my grandparents (we're Catholic). I just find this very special.
I will continue to pray for you and your family. As Jeff said, we're here for yo and we ALL hope you continue to keep coming to MMC. God Bless.
__________________ The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. - Burton Hillis
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There was a trial that I went through in my life that was particularly difficult. I was visiting with a close friend...one who I consider to be a mentor to me....and he gave me some powerful advice....it went something like this....
In difficult times, it's important to stay in your lane on the road of life....recognizing that the most important thing that you can do is to be you and do what is natural or feels the most right. Don't force things that don't feel natural for your family....
I'm praying for you and hope that by being around your family during Christmas you will gain strength and comfort...
Have glove will travel
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