Social Question

jaytkay's avatar

How do you "celebrate" holidays after a death in the family?

Asked by jaytkay (25787points) December 18th, 2015

A friend’s wife died last Christmas. Another friend died today, with his anniversary and Christmas falling within the week.

I’m not looking for the “right” answer. I’m just curious how people have made the best of it.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

8 Answers

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I think the important thing is that the family comes together. It won’t be the same and it shouldn’t be expected to, but a family goes on and coming together at holidays as they always have shows the determination of the family to do so. What happens after they get together is anybody’s guess, but that isn’t up to any individual, that is up to the family as an organism. It will be OK.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

This will be the second Christmas without my mother. We don’t have the large family get together that we used to have when she was alive, but I make sure my father isn’t alone during the holiday. He’ll be with me and my family or my sister and her family. He lives closer to my sister and it all depends on the weather for the day. We don’t want him driving an hour to see me if the roads are bad.

You just do what brings you the most comfort.

stanleybmanly's avatar

You toast then spin legends of those who have left and savor the times spent with those who remain.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

My best friend died six years ago yesterday, eight days before Christmas. You just get through it, like any other day. There is nothing in particular that will help, so going through the motions is kind of all you can do. Or not. Just do whatever feels the most right at the time. Christmas has not ever returned to “normal” for me, and it might not ever again, but I’m at a point now where I can at least get some sparks of enjoyment. They’re just dampened quite a bit.

But spending time with the people who are still here is a good way to do it, even if it feels like crap for now.

msh's avatar

Boy is that a tough one to experience. Every time.
You get together with those loved ones left.
Some stare off, some need to talk. Some cry that soft, teary, quiet way.
There is someone or two who try to get people busy and their minds off things.
They find an old board game in a cabinet to play like you all used to.
Go out to look at Xmas lights.
Go to a bookstore.
Play cards.
Cheat when playing cards.
Cook favorites of the loved one gone.
Some having trouble sleeping can nap.
Go out for a walk. Anywhere.
Laughing gets teary sometimes. Keep thinking of funny or sweet memories.
Bake cookies or a new dish- anything that others can give their 2 cents worth of ideas.
Go to a movie.
Hug a lot.
Read aloud to kids.
Play music- holiday or no.
Figure out how you, yourself are doing. And rest your mind on something to create or draw or go to the grocery for.
Play charades.
Go to the movies.
And bear the devastating feelings when everyone is just feeling sad.
Go put something you all make or create at the cemetary, or woods, or water- wherever it meant something to the person. Or where they are now.
Leave a stone there for every visit.
And when there comes a time that all are no longer, and there isn’t anyone present or able, adjust to things for one to do in order to feel better.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

In 1973, I joined my big brother working on the railroad. He had just finished two tours in Nam as a medic and we both needed to earn money for university. Two months later, he was caught between two cars on the repair track and I escorted his body home. It was tough on my mom. My stepfather was her anchor, and a good one. He was a good husband. My little brother wasn’t handling it well and one night about a month after my older brother was killed he came home high and began playing his stereo loudly in his bedroom. My stepfather kicked him out of the house for the night. He didn’t come back in the morning and later that day we found his body in a parking lot under a tree he had spent the night in many times as a kid. Two down in one month. Two out of seven.

Christmas soon followed and there were some hard feelings against my stepfather. My mom, the most victimized by all this, begged us all to show up. Bite the bullet and show up. We did. It was a quiet dinner full of unexpressed grief and anger. Finally my stepfather stood up at the head of the table and said how sorry he was, that if he could relive that night… he broke down and began to cry. I don’t think this former military man, this WWII bomber pilot, had ever actually cried since he was a little kid. We got through it and later we exchanged presents and we slowly became a family again. We had many Christmases together after that and created many good memories.

Many years later after my mom had passed and my stepfather began to weaken, I would sit with him on Saturdays and watch old cowboy movies on his old TV. We talked about John Wayne, Tim Holt, football, and those days when my mom held us together so the healing process could begin. We talked about how many times she did this when we could have otherwise been blown to the winds in our anger and grief. She was our rock. And I began to realize that this quiet old man had been hers, for better and for worse. In return, we all made sure he was comfortable in his passing. And this healed us as well.

filmfann's avatar

When each of my parents died, the entire family spent the following Christmas together, and we had a special emphasis on sharing memories of them. Christmas day was also my parents anniversary, so we had that extra bit to carry.
This year will be my niece’s first Christmas after her husband passed. (She is a former jelly). I am sure she will do the same.

tinyfaery's avatar

My mother died near Thanksgiving and it makes this time of year difficult sometimes. You just continue to live your life and try not to let everyone see you cry every now and then.

It’s bitter sweet. I actually remember her more around this time a year. I remember what it was like when she was here and healthy.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther