First Holidays Without Our Loved Ones


I’m realizing that my dad’s passing last May may be the reason I’m not looking forward to the holidays this year. It just occurred to me today as I started to write about missing our loved ones on holidays, especially the first without them.

Again, first holidays without someone I love. This time it’s my dad. He didn’t always join me for Thanksgiving and Christmas, we lived 500 miles apart until the last two years. With four daughters, a granddaughter near by and a loving sister, he always had nice holidays with one of us and our families. When he was with Ed and me, we’d have family and our friends over as usual. He always loved the cast of characters. He shared in the story telling and the laughs. Pop loved to laugh.

He would be with us for about a week. I picture him sitting at the end of the sofa with a dish of nuts on the side table. He’d eat every one, while reading his current book, then ask where the candy dish was. I mention that because it’s one of the things I miss. I don’t need to keep cleaning up around where he sat and don’t have to hide the candy to keep him from getting sick. I really didn’t mind, of course, he was my dad and a loving character himself.

I’ve told my daughters that I’ve been thinking for years that one Thanksgiving I wanted to volunteer to help serve dinner to needy families. Well, this is the year I’ve decided to do it. They’ll be fine without grandma this year. I can stop by on my way home for pumpkin pie and coffee. I just want to have my mind somewhere else for the day.

There are many nice websites you can go to for ideas on how to get through the holidays after losing a loved one. They share good advice and have great recommendations. Personally, I just like to keep the holiday very low key that first year.

After my husband passed nearly four years ago, my daughter that lived near me and Ed’s grandson who was so close to us both, had Thanksgiving and Christmas together at my house. Just the three of us. Out of respect, we kept Ed’s chair at the end of the table, where he always sat, empty. We knew no one could take his place. It was nice to cook together and just be silent about what we were each feeling regarding our loss.

If you’ve lost a loved one this year, I think you should do whatever you feel like doing. If being with a big family will distract you from your thoughts, that’s wonderful. If you feel like being alone and just being a little sad for a while, than do it. We each grieve in our own way.

It does get easier, I know it seems impossible right now, but it does. The first year after someone passes and you experience the birthdays, anniversaries and holidays without them is always the hardest. I’ve lost five family members since 2005 and a couple of friends. I promise, it does get easier.

But, this year, I’ll keep it low key and meet some new people. I love hearing people’s stories and I bet there will be some interesting ones at the Salvation Army. I better bring a note pad.

Until soon, I wish you love and happy memories.

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