They say it’s the most wonderful time of the year, but for many of us the holidays suck. Don’t get me wrong, I love Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years. I love the decorations and the food and the music and the traditions. But this time of year is the absolute hardest for me.
And it isn’t because of the increase of social commitments. Or the crazy holiday shoppers. Or the family feuds. Or the ten pounds I’ll probably gain between now and the end of the year.
It’s because my mom isn’t here.
I’m writing this on what would have been my mom’s 60th birthday. This will be the 15th holiday season since her passing. And it’s still hard. Sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner without her is hard. Decorating the tree without her is hard. Making her famous chocolate dipped almond cookies without her is hard. Opening presents on Christmas morning without her is hard. Ringing in another new year without her is hard. And it will always be hard.
My mom rocked the holidays. She was a fabulous cook, party-thrower, gift-giver, and more. She instilled traditions in me that I am proud to carry on. She navigated the holiday season with such grace. I am still in awe of her and she continues to inspire me everyday.
But damn, it sure does suck without her.
I know many of you are in the same boat, and I know how you feel. I’ve faked the smiles at family gatherings and pretended like I was fine through it all. If there’s one piece of advice I could give you, it is this:
Don’t pretend like you’re okay.
Be honest about how you feel, both with yourself and with loved ones. Talk about that person that is no longer here. Find a way to celebrate them or carry out traditions they loved. Surround yourself with people who understand. Focus on self care. Hug your loved ones for an extra few seconds.
And don’t ever forget that you are not alone.
If you want or need to talk about this, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Shoot me an email or a DM on Instagram or comment below. I’m with you.