I think the holidays are bittersweet for most people who have been around long enough to lose someone special. In our house it's my Mom. We have lost other family members but somehow the holidays are linked to my Mother.
My Mother was born on Thanksgiving so in our house it was a extra special day. All the relatives would make the long (80 minute) drive from "the city" to" the country" where my parents had moved. I hold many fond memories of those special Thanksgivings. The year Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer she missed Thanksgiving as she was recovering from her surgery. She lost her fight a few years later on Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve had always been special since my Mom was a night nurse, Santa would always come before 11pm when she had to leave for work. She knew one of her 7 children would be unable to wait for her to get home from work in the morning and she didn't want to miss a minute of our joy.
I don't often share this story since to me it seems too terrible to believe. Plus I don't want to ruin anyone else s holidays. As the oldest, and now Matriarch of my family I have tried to keep the holidays happy. My youngest sister who was 10 when Mom died seemed to appreciate the approach. Now we celebrate the holidays at her house as she has the youngest child. My middle sisters really have a hard time when it comes to the holidays. I try to be all things to all people, letting them express their feelings to me pre holiday in the hopes that we can keep things positive for the actual celebrations. This year I am not doing so well with the balance. Almost had my first panic attack on the way to work yesterday.
So to all of you who are thinking back to those who will not be with you this holiday, I share your pain. My heart goes out to those of you who are spending your first holiday season without them. I believe we honor them best by taking good care of ourselves and feeling the joy that comes with living. So although it will be bittersweet, I wish you all a good and peaceful holiday season.