Grieving During the Holiday Season
Thanksgiving, Christmas, and all of the holiday season seen through the eyes of a child is a magical time. After all, we hear that “it’s the most wonderful time of the year,” from a very young age. It’s as we age that we begin to realize just how hard the holidays are for so many people. The losses people have suffered, both throughout that year and during their lifetime, divorce, cancer and other major illness diagnoses in their family and friends lives, job losses, miscarriages, and so many defining moments that seem to come to a head during the six week winter holiday season.
Holidays are centering moments in our lives, full of memories – the Thanksgiving where the turkey was inedible, the year the kids opened all of the Christmas presents before you and your ex woke up, Grandma Irene’s prized pumpkin pie – all memories that for better or for worse make the holidays an especially easy time to feel an absence. The absence of a loved one, a marriage, the family you once had, or maybe the family you imagined, you get the idea. Additionally, the stress of the holiday season is only made worse when you are grieving these losses. Something small may trigger your heartache like a Christmas card addressed to both you and your ex-spouse, or perhaps being the only singleton at the Thanksgiving dinner table.
It’s all too easy to feel like we are all alone in holiday sadness, after all, look at all those smiling faces on the Christmas cards and on social media posts. It’s important to remember that those are just that – snapshots, and not reality. Behind many of those smiling faces also lie someone that is grieving in one way or another. It’s not easy to navigate the holiday season, but use gatherings of friends and family to serve as reminders that you are not alone. Allow for these occasions to provide an opportunity to take a break from the grief you are feeling from your divorce. It may offer you hope that holidays after divorce are bearable, and, maybe not today, but will one day even be enjoyable.
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