'tis the season

I’ve been meaning to write this the moment the halloween decor changed into Christmas lights and advent calendars, but as the holidays are, I haven’t been able to create the time until now. The holidays are full. Full of last minute shopping and wrapping, traditions and festivities with friends and family, and meals which almost always result in unbuttoning or the undoing of the belt. But beyond that, one of the ‘wonderful’ times of the year, also can bring a lot of complicated emotions for what is no longer. 

Finding the balance of enjoying the present moment, living the holidays in all their chaotic glory like everyone else, but also taking and making the time to be sad, to reflect, and remember. But with the holidays always being so hectic I find myself just pushing grief away, telling myself I’ll take care of it [me] later.

Every Christmas my mom would decorate the tree, it would be an all day (sometimes longer) task, but it would always look stunning by the end. I think it was her attention to detail—the pacing of ornaments, making sure every branch was spread evenly, and also, she never let my sister and I ‘help.’ This is our third Christmas without her, and the third Christmas we’ve actually been in charge of decorating more than the bottom row of the tree (with out handmade ornaments). I am now the one to stress about making the tree as impeccable as the way my mom would, (she passed that on to me) however I can not say my sister and I have been able to match her decorating skills. There are always the memories that get triggered around this time, not only because of her anniversary, but just because it is a time for family and tradition. The absence of her is heightened.

Our family has managed with our new reality during the holidays, we’ve been fortunate to be able to enjoy ourselves surrounded by good people and good food, we have even started new traditions of our own. However, I think it is naive to think I could go a holiday season without feeling the pain of loss—and honestly, I don’t think I want to. Grief is so complicated because as painful as it is to remember, it is worse to forget.

I just want to remind myself and who ever reads this that grief is not something to be scared of or avoid, but something that reflects how deeply
you felt and feel, 
cared and care, 
loved and continue
to love. 

and you're not alone.