1. You’re allowed to be upset. You don’t have to hold back your negative emotions because it’s supposedly the happiest time of the year. For some people this is the hardest time of the year because it’s when you are reminded of everything you’ve lost. You remember the good days when your loved ones would gather around the dinner table with you. You remember the jokes you used to tell and the hugs you used to share. You remember every little thing about them and wish they were still around to celebrate with you. You’re allowed to be upset those days are behind you. You’re allowed to cry.
2. You’re allowed to skip certain traditions. If you’re not in the holiday spirit, that’s okay. You don’t have to fake happiness. Wanting nothing to do with a holiday you used to love doesn’t make you a Grinch. It makes you someone with a heart who has lost a part of that heart. If you’re not ready to engage in traditions that remind you of your loved one, you can skip it this year. You can skip it every year. You can set new traditions. You can make your own rules.
3. You’re allowed to reminisce. Sometimes, the pain is too fresh and it’s not a great idea to think too much about the past. But other times, it’s healthy to retell your favorite stories about this person. It’s healthy to flip through old pictures on your phone and snapshots from your childhood. It’s healthy to talk about them, to include them in the holiday season, even if they aren’t physically there with you.
4. The holidays are hard for everyone. You might feel like you’re the only one in the world who is miserable during the holidays, but that’s far from the truth. There are other people out there missing a loved one who has passed. And there are people missing their loved ones who are overseas and unable to visit. And there are people missing their exes or their ex-best-friend or their parent they haven’t spoken to in years. It might not be the same kind of pain you’re experiencing, but everyone is missing someone. No one is as happy as they seem, even around the holidays.
5. You’re going to get through this. You might be struggling to make it through the holiday season, but you’re going to get there. It’s going to be 2020 soon and you’ll have a fresh new start. You will never be able to forget about the person you lost and you will never be able to stop missing them, but you will be able to move forward.
6. You shouldn’t feel guilty about your happiness. During those rare moments when you forget your pain, when you actually laugh a real laugh, you shouldn’t feel guilty. You shouldn’t feel like you’re mourning wrong or betraying your loved one because you aren’t constantly crying over them. They would want you to be happy. They would want you to enjoy the holiday season. If you can’t, that’s okay. But if you can, then don’t hold yourself back. Let yourself have a happy holiday.