Finding the Joy (and Balance) in the Holidays

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A ruby slipper for our own Dorothy.

I love Christmas.  I always have.  I think it’s the most magical time of the year.  I know for many, the holidays are an incredible source of stress but I love an entire season devoted to helping others and spending time with the people you love.  After Dorothy died, I found myself terrified of many things, but one of the most terrifying was what her death would do to my love of Christmas.  I couldn’t imagine having a happy Christmas without her here.  I imagined her absence would hang over the holidays and shroud it in grief and sadness.  There has been much trepidation leading up to what should have been our baby’s first Christmas.

Were my worries founded?  Did I lose my Christmas spirit?  Well, to be honest, I’m not sure.  For all appearances, I have thrown myself into this holiday with fervor.  I’ve decorated, baked, mailed cards, and even thrown a holiday party for friends.  I’ve been busy, but I’m not sure if I’m motivated by the spirit of the holidays or by my need to keep my mind occupied.

Truthfully, it’s probably a mix of the two and I’m okay with that.  There are days when I belt out my favorite Christmas songs and there are days when I cry in front of our Christmas tree.  There are days when I’m busy playing Santa Claus and there are days when I am desperately looking forward to the solitude that January brings.  All of this is okay.  One of the things I’ve learned about grief is that it’s okay to hold the happy AND the sad together.  After all, grief is proof of our love.

I’m proud of Mike and I for carrying through this holiday season.  I’m proud of us for finding ways to honor Dorothy and to honor our own traditions as a couple.  This holiday season has also allowed us to see the ways in which those we love are choosing to remember our little girl on what would have been her first Christmas.  There have been ornaments gifted, donations made in her memory, and mentions of her name.  Mike and I have also started some new traditions for Dorothy like hanging her special ornaments on our Christmas tree and picking out a toy for a child in need that we would have loved to watch Dorothy open this Christmas.  We plan to continue these traditions in years to come so that our first born will always have a place in our Christmas.

Wishing you love and comfort during this holiday season.

 

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