Many people participate in long established traditions. For some it’s a time to return to a childhood home.
This post originally appeared on Role Reboot and has been republished here with full permission.
For others, it’s a chance to open their own home to family and friends. But for those mourning the loss of a loved one, the holiday season can become a daunting obstacle course, where every “celebration” is a painful reminder of the person who has died.
I have been through it many times. My parents both died when I was in my 20s. My much beloved brother followed a decade later. Now in my 40s, I have grieved with my partner through the loss of her parents and aunt.
As tempting as it might be, I have seen the damage done by choosing to simply sit out the holidays. After my dad died, my mother all but cancelled Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations.
Her house used to fill up with her eight children and dozens of grandchildren, but after my father was gone, holidays became three or four of us eating a scaled down version of a holiday meal and ending our commemoration of the day by noon. Mostly I remember how oppressively dark and quiet the house was during those times.