Grief and The Holidays: Your Enough is Enough
This is a hard time of year and we often find ourselves not putting up decorations, reserving the Brisket or even calling friends we normally call. There is one big message in this and that is your enough is enough. You do not have to send out Christmas Cards. You do not have to volunteer for the food drive this year.
Resting your traditions for a year can be just as important as the traditions themselves and before you think this is a stretch, hold onto while we journey through this for a minute.
My best friends birthday is December 25th and every December 25th, I would send her my well crafted love note to her as a birthday gift. After she died in November 2015, I stopped writing the letters. I stopped because it hurt too damn much, and the stories were getting harder and harder to tell.
It was less about her amazingness and more about my loneliness without her.
I stopped because it was enough to hold onto her memory for a while and whisper a happy birthday to her as I went about Christmas-palooza with my kids.
As the years have gone on, I have dug a little deeper into this little tradition and started writing love notes to my grandchildren (who may or may not exist in the very far future). I started sharing stories that my best friend would have loved to have heard. I shared stories about my friend who gave the best massages, who threw the best parties and who always got the best parking spots.
She will live on in the hearts of children. Their smile is my love letter to her.
Because my enough was enough – I was able to set aside traditions and morph them into something else. Because I didn’t power through the letters to Bess to keep her memory alive in me, I was able to find another place she could live that could only exist because her and I are enough.
So all of those traditions that you had with your person should be revisited by you. They deserve your reflection, they deserve your respect and wonder. When you do decide to set them aside, do so with full awareness and perhaps some curiosity for what they will look like when you pick them up again. And when you do pick them up again, change them but in some beautiful way, make them in honour of everything you have, had and will have because of the people you love.
Ask yourself, what are you making room for? What legacy can you continue on? What brings more meaning to your days?
"My grandmother had this silly glass pickle when you found this pickle ornament on the tree, you got the special gift. It was a journal. A family journal, where it was now your job to write in the family journal for a year before hiding the ornament again to pass on the journal. When she died, it was her stories that we read around the tree every Christmas eve. This new tradition, carried on when my father passed away. The journal is the most prized family heirloom."
You and your loved one are enough – just the way you are and can be carried on in beautiful traditions for years to come.