Preparing for a holiday event without them….
The first thing we had to do was acknowledge that the holidays were coming.
And they were coming fast! Austin died on the Father’s Day Weekend..
We truly ignored each other for Halloween. As much as I hate to admit it, I could not handle being with my sister and knowing that one of her children would not be with us for this holiday.
One of Erica’s fondest memories of Austin’s last year was that he got the exact Halloween costume that he wanted. It is still one of my favorite stories about that little guy. He was Hell Boy!
About two weeks prior to Christmas, I received a call from Erica letting me know that she refused to go through this holiday alone. She did not give any of us an option. We were informed that we would all be spending Christmas Eve at her house and that the entire family, all twenty of us would spend the night
at her house. She refused to wake-up on Christmas morning without him. She explained that as she knew he would not be there, she would need each one of us to hold her up.
This experience was amazing. My eldest daughter, Lauren, took it to her heart and we all got crazy, matching pajamas. We took funny photos, laughed, cried, and hung out together. Most importantly, we were together.
The crazy thing about this Christmas Eve night is that it is now our new
tradition. Every year, since then, we get together with our crazy pajamas and spend the night together and wake up together. This is our “New Normal” without Austin.
Erica decided that same old holiday traditions were not going to work for her this year. You see she knew what she could do for the holidays. But she equally knew what she could not do. We all worked together to make this “new holiday” work for her.
One things that has been every important to Erica is not to celebrate the day of his death. It is extremely important that we celebrate his birthday. So, for the last twelve years, we have been having a birthday celebration to remember him. Most years, this has included a cake or a cupcake. These celebrations are joyful and we talk about where he may have been at this point in his life. Once you accept it in your heart that the Holidays are coming as part of your “New Normal,” plan and communicate with the people you will spend the holiday with to make sure that everyone has agreed on the plans. Be honest. Tell the truth to everyone around you.
1. Acknowledge that the holidays will be different, and they
will be tough.
2. Decide which traditions you want to keep.
3. Decide which traditions you want to change.
4. Create a new tradition in memory of your loved one.
5. Decide where you want to spend the holidays – you may
want to switch up the location, or it may be of comfort to
keep it the same. Either way, make a conscious decision
6. Plan and communicate with the people you will spend the
holiday with in advance, to make sure everyone is in
agreement about traditions and plans.
7. Remember that not everyone will be grieving the same way
you are grieving.
8. Remember that the way others will want to spend the
holiday may not match how you want to spend the holiday.
9. Be honest. Tell people what you DO want to do for the
holidays and what you DON’T want to do.