This will be our second year without my mother this holiday season. The first season was a blur of grief and pushing through, as we tried as hard as we could to still make the holidays a special and happy occasion for the sake of the kids.
I thought it would feel easier by now, but it doesn’t. It just feels… different.
I have always loved the holidays, something that was in large part instilled by my mother. The wonder, the magic and sense of holiday spirit; these are things that are still by and large a part of who I am and who I will always be. My mother made sure of this by making the holidays a magical experience, even when we had very little and next to nothing besides the tree on Christmas morning.
She loved this time of year and her joy was quickly caught by others. This season, the spirit of the holidays, it can be contagious. And it was. I have never not looked forward to this time of year.
At least that was until she passed away suddenly last fall.
The Importance of Holiday Traditions While Grieving
Now mixed in with the anticipation of the holidays is this sense of dread and blanket of grief. Not that I miss her more during the holidays than I do any other time of the year, but I miss the magic she brought to it. The happiness that was contagious and how much she looked forward to this time of year.
I miss sharing these things with her. And I grieve that my kids may not remember or will not get to experience what this was like.
So, I try my very best. I try to make these holidays everything my mother made them for me. For my kids, but also for myself. It’s then that I can still feel her; her presence, her memory, her joy. It’s then, when I least expect it, that I feel closest to her.
This is why we will go to get a tree Thanksgiving weekend.
This is why we will hang our stocking to be filled by St. Nick goodies on December 5th.
This is why I will make sure the kids have a new ornament every year, just like I did, so that they will have their own collection of ornaments to decorate their first tree on their own.
This is why the kids will get new pajamas on Christmas Eve to wear Christmas morning.
This is why we will make the snowball cookies that my mom always made.
This is why I will still decorate while watching classic Christmas movies and stay up late watching cheesy holiday made-for-TV movies while wrapping gifts.
And this is why we will still make a night of driving around to see all the houses decorated in lights as we are snuggled warmly inside our car while listening to holiday music.
I will continue to keep these traditions alive, because in doing so it keeps our memories of her alive as well.