The holidays can be a time of great joy and happiness.  We get together with our families around a tree and open presents. The smile on everyone’s faces will be something that we will have etched in our memories forever. However, the seat that was always reserved for the same person sit empty for the first time. The feeling of jubilation is sucked out of the room at the realization that a loved one will not be there this year.

Red candles in a row glowingThis year I am dealing with an overwhelming sadness that I will no longer have the option of saying Merry Christmas to my Mom. I forgot how hard it can be to lose a family member or someone that you are close with. It seems that depression may go away but all of a sudden, the Christmas ads start showing up on the television and you have the thought for the first time in your life they will not be there.

I know we have all been there at least once in our life. We have problems trying to understand how to deal with the hole that was left at Christmas. It can make the holidays difficult and turn us into the Grinch. This year I want to try to help people be able to cope with that empty feeling and if anyone has different ways they are dealing with holidays without a loved one, share with us in the comment section.

I know it is hard but try to power through it. I have had my moments of breaking down and crying till no longer a tear would come out. I was listening to Christmas music and jamming out to some of my all-time favorites. I made my playlist ages ago, so changing it has never crossed my mind. I should have realized that should have been one of the first things I did when it was close to Thanksgiving. The song Blue Christmas by Elvis started to bellow out the speakers. I didn’t think much about it at first. After, about 30 seconds, I needed a way to dry out my eyes. If you are going to be able to leave the house, you have to know that song that breaks your heart will be played, especially Christmas songs. This song just happened to be my mom’s favorite Christmas song. As you know, you hear a person’s favorite song and all the memories will come flooding through gates of the mind. The more you hear something, the more it will start to have a different meaning. At, first it will be difficult but as time goes on it will get easier. I am not going to say that a relapse in sadness will not happen but it will be easier to deal with.

The next tip I have learned is to make new memories. My mother loved to cook a meal that was fit for forty kings, and the holidays were no exception. Her cooking would start the day before at 5 in the morning and go right up until it was time to dig in. It was different knowing this year that I would not be able eat the food she made. I knew what to expect. I knew I wasn’t going to waking up on Christmas morning with the aroma of ham. This year at Thanksgiving, I got to make a whole new memory with my new family. I am a newly married man and I got to spend my first holiday with my new family. Nothing will ever replace the memories of the person that you are missing, but the new memories you get to make with people you care about will be cherished just as much. It was a lesson that I got to learn and made my first holiday experience without my mom more enjoyable.

The final tip that I have for all of you; it is all about the little things. Once a person we love is no longer with us, we need to do a small thing to make us smile. Again, just like powering through the pain, it is going to take time. It is going to hurt for a while but as time passes the pain will ease. I am not an overly religious person and I not sure how a lot of you feel about this. Once a person passes away, you hear that no matter what they are always with you. I do believe this. I feel that if someone is in your heart, they are always going to be there. Do something small to remember them but do it in your own way. This year, I will be hanging my Mom’s ornaments on the tree because no matter what she will always be with me. I can picture the smile on her face seeing the tree with the ornaments that made her Christmas brighter. The little things are what power the emotions to run. It is the little things that will put the smile on our faces instead of the sadness that can fill our hearts.

This year is going to be different for me and riddled with some sadness. There is no doubt that it will be a difficult holiday season to go through but with the right support system and a little duct tape, the heart can be mended.