It seems like the older I get, the more happy-sad life becomes. Happy-sad is my new favorite grief saying and henceforth it shall be used any time something is simultaneously beautiful and excruciating.
Happiness and sadness are not mutually exclusive and nowhere is this more evident than the holidays. Now I know some of you are feeling just plain sad-sad right now, but a day will come (if it hasn't already) when something makes you cry and smile all at the same time. When this happens, notice it and remember it, because this is happy-sad.
After the death of a loved one, the holidays forever become a mix of happy and sad moments. With time, the sad moments become fewer and less intense, but they never completely go away. And, ten years later, a song or an ornament or a sentiment can still make you cry. To illustrate my point, I've put together an immutable list of all the times my... err... your loved one's death made you cry this holiday season.
3. When you burnt their favorite recipe...
4. When you heard their favorite holiday song...
5. When you heard their least favorite holiday song...
6. When you couldn't face those carolers...
7. When you found a gift they would have loved...
9. When you sat across from their empty seat at the holiday celebration...
10. When you remembered the holidays will never be the same as they were before their death.
However you're feeling this holiday season—happy, sad, or happy-sad—just know you are not alone. Hang in there: Take things one minute at a time and open yourself up to the possibility of joy. Remember why you celebrate whatever it is you celebrate, honor your loved one's memory, love others, and let others love you.
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For more articles about grief at the holidays, check out this section of our blog or some of the following articles:
- 8 Tips for Remaining Present at the Holidays (While Grieving)
- 7 Ways to Go Easy on Yourself While Grieving at the Holidays
- Guilt and Grief During the Holiday Season
- A Griever’s Pocket Guide To Spending The Holidays Alone
- 8 Tips For Supporting A Grieving Friend This Holiday
Or share this holiday grief bingo card with your family and friends, to remember that you're not alone!
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