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Maybe Next Year

Updated: Aug 26, 2022

One week until Thanksgiving and if you are a grieving person, you may be dreading holiday season. From now until the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, holiday cheer is everywhere, like it or not.

You will find articles in magazines and many websites dedicated to ideas for “survival” and top 10 lists promising ways to endure and survive the holiday. My question is, do you want to merely survive, or would you rather make the holiday as meaningful as possible as you live with grief in your life?

No one can understand what the holiday season is like for a person who is living with grief. For us the season is about family, food, cheerfulness, parties, loneliness, sadness, confusion, thankfulness, regret, obligation, pressure, stress and anticipation.

We anticipate what the season will be like without our loved ones by our side, seated at the table and interacting with the family. The band concerts, choir performances, pageants and religious gatherings are penciled on the calendar and the mere thought of attending fills us with dread. Being a widow or widower is lonely in a crowded room. Being a parent to our children when one has died; there are no words to describe the heartache. Thinking about the holidays becomes unbearable. How does cheerfulness and thanksgiving and joy fit into the season of sorrow and grief? Maybe it doesn’t.

We give ourselves permission to do what we can do and say no to the rest. Living with grief in our lives requires us to be advocates for our own self-care. The best form of self-care is becoming proficient in saying that tiny two letter word, NO. We are the only ones who know what we need and what will be too much. We know our comfort zone.

This year, feel free to skip the festivities and grieve.

Practice saying “No thank you. Maybe next year.”


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