December is a difficult month to get through for many. The holidays are supposed to be a cheerful and joyous time filled with parties, merriment, and meals that resemble a Norman Rockwell painting.  But for those who are alone, it can be a very depressing time of year. It is also hard for those who either have a close relative or friend in the hospital or even worse have passed away. Personally speaking, many of those close to me have died in December or in the early days of the New Year.   Some of those, just to name a few, include my father, grandmother, great aunt and stepfather.  And it is very conflicting to attend a funeral at a location, whether it is a church or a funeral home, that is decorated beautifully for Christmas.  So, my feelings towards the holidays are mixed, especially when we as a society are programmed to be enjoy ourselves. During this time of year, my thoughts unfortunately go to those I have lost and the sadness of their passing.

The hurt of losing a relative, especially around the holidays, is never easy. There is also the fear, coupled with the sadness of losing a relative, of realizing that we begin to take the place of those who have died as we get older. We now become the patriarchs and matriarchs of our families and younger generations look to us to have the answers. How did those before us handle it? Were they scared too? Of course they were, but they did not let us see it. They didn’t have all of the answers but they made us think they did.  When this sadness and fear set in, I challenge myself with focusing on the lessons they taught me, the joy they brought, and the influence and love they left behind. I remember the confidence they gave me, their words of wisdom, and that does help to make it easier. The pain of their loss may get easier as the years go by but it never goes away. But to ease that pain, we need to focus on the positive of what they left behind and take what they taught us to educate and provide confidence and assurance to those who now look to us for guidance. If we hold them in our hearts, they will never be far away from us. So, this holiday season, let’s wrap ourselves in the warmth of wonderful memories, while making new ones with our family and/or friends. Happy Holidays!