I’m listening to the radio and the host mentioned how excited she is for Thanksgiving.
I didn’t even realize how quickly it came up.
Before, I would have had my Thanksgiving Day reservation made at Boulevard Five72 and a complete menu for the day after Thanksgiving all prepared by November 1st!
Now, the holidays approach like a regular day for me and I can almost slip through it unnoticed – until the invites come flooding in from friends asking for me to celebrate with them.
Of course I am always grateful, but the holidays after a loss is hard.
Even when you are surrounded by loving family and friends, sometimes it’s still not the same.
Through the smiles and laughter, there are times when a deep sadness peeps through and I wish I was home surrounded by what was familiar.
So, all of this is to say that I know that for some, the holidays may not be easy to navigate. In fact it may be downright hard.
I’ve come to realize that while the holidays will not be the same – some years will be good, some passable and some not so good – I had to give myself permission to do the holidays my way.
I focus on one day at a time and allow myself to do what makes me feel good, even if it means not following the expectations of what others may want me to do.
Every year, Derek and I engaged in our own holiday traditions. One of those would be to go to Bethlehem, PA to look at the Christmas lights and watch Santa ride through town on his Clydesdale-drawn sleigh.
I had a need to continue the tradition even though he was not physically here – so one morning, I just got into the car and drove to PA. The experience was different as it wasn’t during the night as I was used to doing. I also didn’t see Santa, but funnily enough I ended up having a good time exploring the Christmas shops and museums. I let go of expectations and gave myself permission to experience the tradition in a different way.
There are no expectations for you to be able to get through every day smiling and happy and that is ok even if others do not understand.
SO GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO DO WHATEVER YOU NEED TO DO TO GET THROUGH THE COMING WEEKS.
If you want to stay in and create a voice message that says you are “Out of the Office”– do it.
Book a trip for the holidays or indulge in something that makes you happy.
Leave a party early or not attend at all.
Give yourself permission to let the energy flow however you need it to.
YOU DO NOT NEED TO PLEASE EVERYONE
AND KNOW THAT EACH YEAR WILL BE DIFFERENT.
I used to go to South Carolina to spend the holidays with my best friend and her family. The warm weather and running after my nieces would help me to reset.
This Thanksgiving is a toss-up of spending it with friends or taking an impromptu trip up north. Or I may make lavender and white chocolate cocoa, put on my favorite sweats and binge watch movies.
For Christmas, I always hold an annual Cookie Swap party in early December. However, this year, I have not given a single thought to the actual day and that is ok. Whatever I decide on, I know it will be what I want to do to make me happy. It will be what my soul needs.