Conversations in Grief Blog: Almost Home for the Holidays
The holiday season is upon us and with it so much uncertainty. In this season of love and joy, we often make plans to rest, to gather with our loved ones, and enjoy the delights of the holidays. For many of us, this is simply is not possible this year. COVID-19 has caused us to cancel plans and change our guest lists. Like much of this year, many are being forced to choose smaller and simpler celebrations to avoid spreading sickness rather than holiday cheer. As COVID-19 threatens to crash our parties we have to decide, whether it is worth it to not take precautions, especially if those precautions are painful.
For those who are already feeling the absence of loved ones who have died, the idea of not having everyone else around may be unbearable. One empty chair is one too many. Spending the holidays alone or with fewer guests becomes one more loss in a year of great loss. It may feel like there is no point in trying to celebrate.
For a time, I lived in a country that did not celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas. I recall waking up on those holidays to the normal sounds of everyday life. No church bells, no special programs on TV, and family on the other side of the ocean. We did our best, the few of us who did celebrate, to scrap together something special. Even with our best efforts it still felt sad. We missed home and family. Our joy was mixed with sorrow and the losses we felt. This experience and others have taught me that there is always room in our holidays for sorrow and grief.
We are not required to be happy during the holidays when there is so much sorrow. There is room beside our gratitude to express the pain we feel whatever that looks like. If you wake up next Thursday and find yourself in tears over the state of everything, I guarantee you will not be alone. This is a year for scraping together the best we can, for celebrating if we feel like it, and making room for our sorrow. The best part about holiday seasons is just that. They are seasons and they do not last forever. We can look forward to holidays free from COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions but for now we will make room for our grief.