By Anne Powers
We ran this post on TMoM a few years ago, and Anne’s ideas are still wonderful reminders today. For those of you who will be remembering loved ones this holiday season, know that our hearts and prayers are with you and your families.
Many of you read my blog about spending my first Christmas without my Grandmother. Even though she passed away in August, I find that my 6-year-old still brings up how much she misses her. Though she barely knew her, her death is still as unsettled to her as it is sometimes to me. Now that I’m through the Christmas holidays, I want to do a few things to help both my daughter and I honor her memory.
The following are some ideas that any of us could use. (Please keep in mind, they are for those who are not completely overwhelmed with their loss. For those who are overwhelmed with loss, less is more, and the ideas below can be used next year.) Ask your children about things they may like to do to remember the person who passed away. Are there traditions that are important to them? If so, consider them. If you can make it happen, great. If you cannot emotionally handle doing it yourself, consider an alternative tradition to start. Be up front with them so they know what to expect.
Do something for others: volunteer at a soup kitchen, visit the lonely and shut-ins, provide help for a needy family, or donate to an organization in their memory. In my Granny’s case, the Urban Ministries was a place she volunteered frequently. In addition, she always held the Children’s Home in Winston-Salem close to her heart because they cared for five of her nieces when her sister-in-law went through a rough time. So I will have my ears out for similar ministries I might be able to serve in the coming months.
Include the deceased’s traditions in your conversation and celebration. My Grandmother made all of us candy cane stripped pajamas for Christmas. Currently, I am on the hunt for some candy cane striped pajamas for my children and their cousins. I thought it might be a fun way to remember Granny. I also talk about her every time we come across her tatted book marks and neddlepoint. Maybe it’s time I teach my daughter how to do a little needlepoint. She also love hydrangeas. Consider planting a special bush in your yard that reminds you of them.
Put out a Valentines folder or an Easter basket (or whatever is appropriate for the holiday) in which people can put notes with their thoughts and feelings. In my case, I think I’m going to put out a cake plate for them to leave notes. She would have liked that. Also tying a written note to a helium balloon and releasing it. Put a special ornament or decoration up for the the next holiday to remind you of your loved one. You might also consider keeping a special candle lit during your holiday celebration that will represent your loved one.
Go eat at their favorite restaurant. If you happen to visit their home during your holidays travels, be sure and go to their favorite restaurant and enjoy it like they would have. In my Granny’s case, Yum Yum Ice Cream was her favorite place to eat. She went there with her friends, Ruth and Willie, every week after Women’s Bible Study. Go look at the left part of their counter and you’ll see her picture with her 2 other friends. She’s been gone from Greensboro for over 15 years and they still remember her. We’ll be eating there sometime during the Winter Break.
Make a food they would have made. Granny had all sorts of recipes for which she was known. The apple dumplings she made are still legendary in some Greensboro circles. So I have some of her recipes out trying to decide which one the kids are going to help me make during one of those days I’m trying to keep them entertained!
Being a good friend to someone who has had a loss. My Granny always looked out for those who were in a more difficult situation than her. If you have a friend who’s also experience a loss, acknowledge the loss and allow them to show whatever emotions they need to show. Dropping off some food or keeping the kids during this crazy time, can also be helpful.
While all the different holidays throughout the year are meant to be joyous, continue to know that this year, you may not feel happy at all. That is natural and to be expected. Give yourself a break and know that, while different, holidays will be a happy time once again..even if they aren’t quite as much so this year.
Blessings and peace to each one of you who may be hurting from missing a loved one. I welcome hearing any other ideas of things you may want to try.
The above suggestions were compiled from the following website: www.griefnet.org/library.