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The Holidays After the Loss of a Loved One

It’s almost October the official beginning of the holiday season for me. I love the holidays. I love Halloween and I even dress up. I love Thanksgiving, and getting together with family and loved ones. I love Christmas and getting the tree up and house decorated.

It hasn’t always been a good time of year for me. I remember struggling for years as a single mom, feeling alone during the holidays even surrounded by loved ones. I remember crying on Christmas Day because I wasn’t going to get the beautiful fancy gift in a designer box. I got tired of going to holidays alone without a significant other. I learned to surround myself with other single moms, buy my own designer present to open up during Christmas Day, and I tried to focus on the reason for the season. Then came last year. Thanksgiving was filled with a sickness at the pit of my stomach knowing my mom was sick with something. After thanksgiving we went to Puerto Rico and it was there I got the phone call that my mother might be dying.

I remember crying on the phone with her and then I went into analytical mode and fight mode. She wasn’t yet officially diagnosed by a doctor. I didn’t know where she got this information from and I was confused. One faction of my family thought it was the end, like her. The other said there was hope. I was all for hope. I kept wanting my mother to fight. The days leading up to Christmas were torturous and full of turmoil. No one was getting along. My mother was mad at me and I was torn in every way. When I went to see her, I knew she was very sick, but I held on to the very end until the official diagnosis. Stage 4 cancer was everywhere. Christmas day was the last day I saw my mother. That day will haunt me forever. I did my best to be of love and service, and by January 1st she was gone.

I will be reliving those days again as the holidays make their rounds. I had experience with the loss of a loved one in a divorce, but never this aching pain, this world shattering nightmare. Staying in the moment is key and enjoying every second of every day knowing it might be mine or a loved one's last day is a must for me. For all those who have gone through a terrible loss during the holidays, my heart goes out to you. All of us must face this sometime in our lives. I know this holiday season, I will take extra care of me and I will remember that Christmas was my mother’s favorite time of year. Last Christmas, when I said good bye forever, she said it had been her best Christmas ever. I will cherish those words all the days of my life.

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