Originally Posted by mammaduke
This morning we lost my mother in law, she died in her sleep. The only gift under the tree has been hers. It is really hard for him to even look at the tree now without remembering that gift that is still there. He won't let me remove it. How do I help him now ? I need some advice I've never had to deal with this.
I'm so sorry to hear about your mother in law.
Its always difficult to lose a loved one and even more painful when it happens around this time of year.
I have dealt with this before and it never gets any easier.
First thing I want to tell you might seem obvious, but its something a lot of people don't seem to realize...You ARE allowed to be sad.
Its just human nature, when you lose someone you love, even if you believe they've gone on to a far better place, they aren't with you anymore right now and it hurts. So, allow yourself to mourn, to cry and let your husband know its ok too.
Men get told since the time they are little boys to be strong, not cry, so its even harder for them to express sadness.
Let him know he's safe expressing any emotion he feels in front of you.
Once you've accepted that you have the right to your feelings, you can start to heal.
Another thing you can do this Christmas season to honor your mother in law, is that you and your husband can give a donation in her memory to her favorite charity or something that she was passionate about.
One of the last things I want to mention is that although it hurts and feels like it will hurt for ever, someday the pain will start to ease.
As I said before, you have a right to be sad, but sometimes its not being sad that people who've lost a loved one feel they have no right to, but joy and happiness.
Just as its ok to feel sad, its ok to celebrate too. All your feelings, whatever they are, are legitimate. This applies not just to this year, but Christmases in the future.
When someone passes away around Christmas time, families often feel strange about EVER allowing themselves to have a merry Christmas again.
If you ever start feeling guilty about wanting to enjoy the holidays, just remember that she would have wanted you to.
It might be hard now, but when you are able, talk about your mother in law, set aside time to remember how she loved Christmas. If there were special things she did, talk about that and even take up those tasks yourself and do them in her memory.
Once again, I'm so sorry for your pain and I hope my words just hope my words can help, at least a tiny bit.