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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Holidays and Loss

  I know about loss haunting your holidays. In November of 2006 my mother died. In November of 2007 my adored mother-in-law died. In November of 2009 my beloved aunt, Nan, my friend and companion died. Traditions die hard and when you have lost someone special in your life it can take a long time to get over it. 

Whenever I pass colorful fall leaves on the ground in Central Park, I hesitate, for a moment. I used to gather leaves and enclose them in the weekly letters I wrote to my mother in Florida before she died. 
I was speechless when, on my trip to bid her a final goodbye, I discovered that she had saved all my letters. 

When I see holiday lights, I remember the drive around Bethlehem, PA, my mother-in-law (Ruth) took me on at Christmas time. Since it is called "The Christmas City" the lights were always breath-taking. Even though she had five children, she took only me on those rides. I looked forward to that special trip every year.

My aunt, Nan Cohen, was a friend and companion. We went to many movies together. I'd call her every week to tell her what was playing. She made her olive and cream cheese sandwich and I brought tuna fish. We'd switch halves and have lunch in the movie or go out to the diner on the corner after the movie. We went to events together at the fashion college where I taught direct marketing. She'd read my students' papers and make comments. She would have been my biggest reader if she had survived to see my novels published.

Losing a loved one in the fall can impact your holidays. There is one less person to buy a gift for, send a holiday card to or make plans to see during the holidays. You may find yourself walking toward the phone to share something funny, happy or sad with them, only to be stopped short when you remember they are no longer here. Or times when you stop at a store window saying to yourself, "Oh Ruth would love that" or "Ma needs one of those."

So if you have a friend or relative who has lost someone special in their life, please go out of your way to understand that they may be sad from time to time during this time of year. Be a good listener and a patient pal. Here's hoping your holidays this year are only filled with laughter and love.


Lindsay said...

I can understand your pain at losing a loved one around the holiday.
I lost my spouse in November of 2004.

Kathleen Ball said...

It is a hard time of year- everyone expects you to be cheery but it isn't that way for everyone. My Mother died in 2007 right before Mother's Day and to be in the stores that have "don't forget you Mother" ads on their PA systems is torture. I still don't know when Steven is going into the Marines- so we have no idea what's going on for Christmas. I just feel incredibly blessed this year.

Jean said...

You have a Steven, too! Mine is Stephen. He's still in school. After my mom and my mil died, I'd get emails from 800 Flower to send flowers to them on Mother's Day. It was painful.

Kellie Kamryn said...

It's been a long time since my grandma passed away but I always think of her on the holidays. Unfortunately, life changes. I try to find a way to make new memories with loved ones that are still in my life.

HUGS Jean! Great post :)

Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy said...

Good post, full of understanding. My father in law died in early December in 2004; my dad passed away in early January just after the season in 2009 so I've experienced it.