January 11th, 2011
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This is to all of you who white-knuckled it through the holidays …

After eight years of celebrating the holidays without my deceased husband, I know this for sure: you can make the holidays anything you want them to be. Only you know how much you can take of the 24-hour holiday music that follows you wherever you go, the marathon holiday parties and the general holly jolly holiday atmosphere.

This may sound simplistic but it’s not.

You need to give yourself permission to do what you think you can handle and nothing more.

You don’t have to celebrate the holidays the way you did before your loved one died.

There are no rules.

When my husband died in November of 2003, I was hit with a rapid succession of what are supposed to be celebrations: Thanksgiving, Christmas, my birthday and our wedding anniversary. They say that timing is everything and his death came at a particularly hard time of the year.

If I could have I would have gone away and traveled to some tropical place that wouldn’t have reminded me of anything to do with those special days. But my son desperately wanted everything to remain the same so I whiteknuckled it and followed through on all the usual holiday rituals.

Eight years later, we have changed a few things and kept others. We come at the holidays from different places and now are more open to change. We have also come to the realization that the holidays are yours to define any way you want. And that’s a truly merry thought.

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