The First Christmas without My Parents
Helpful tips for people facing their first Christmas after a loss.
Are your Christmas lights up? Have you started your Christmas shopping? Have you reached your limit of Hallmark holiday movies?
Today, with the help of my grandson, our kitchen will be filled with the intoxicating aroma of two of the favorite holiday treats, sausage balls, and Martha Washington candy (recipes at the end). These are two of the extraordinary things my momma made for me as a kid, and even as recently as two years ago she made them for me and mailed them to me. While Connor and I prepared these two treats, the memory of my mom and will be very close to me as this will be my first Christmas without both of them this year.
My mom went to be with the Lord on December 2, 2016, and my Dad followed her six weeks later. Dad always told me that his mission was too out live mom so he could take care of her. He completed his task, and even though I miss both of them deeply, I choose to celebrate their lives and their legacy.
For many of us, this Christmas will be our first without a loved one, a daunting challenge that, if not monitored, could lead to a miserable holiday season.
As both a professional counselor and fellow struggler, I wanted to share a few things that might help you move through this Christmas season without feeling overwhelmed with the loss/es you may have experienced this past year.
Some practical tips for getting through your first holiday without loved ones.
Give yourself some time to feel the loss and grieve over the fact that that they are gone. Grieving takes time, just be careful that you don’t over-isolate.
Intentionally connect with friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers.
Find a way to help others. The Bible talks about this in 2 Corinthians 1:3–4 — “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us with all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” NLT
Start some new traditions.
Celebrate some old traditions, like Connor and I are doing today with our baking event.
Finally, let me invite you to read an excellent article by friend Danielle Bernock. Here are a couple of lines from this very insightful and helpful article.
Grieving is hard at any time of the year. But when it’s the season to be jolly, and you’ve suffered a loss the Ho Ho Ho feels like salt in a wound. How do you deal with the holidays when there’s a giant hole in your heart?
John Thurman is a Licensed Mental Health Professional, Speaker, International Crisis Response Specialist and author. His new book, The No Fear Entrepreneur, will be coming out in early 2018