The holidays are filled with so many emotions that it’s hard to know where to start. There’s joy and gratitude for what we have, and there’s pain and sadness for what we don’t. I see colleagues at their desks crying during work, friends missing loved ones, and of course, we are missing Harper. It’s not that the holidays make me miss her more because I always miss her, but it is just much more obvious that she is not here.
The simple things that come along with the holiday season can really be hard for someone who is grieving. For example, we take family photos each year in November, and now each year it almost kills me to continue that tradition without our sweet girl. Our Christmas card should have three children on it and I should be signing it from Mike, Doreen, Michael, Harper & Josie, but that’s not the case (even though I want to). I should be lugging around a 2 ½ year old to see Santa, to get our Christmas tree and to the Polar Express so when those events come around, there are tears that well up in our eyes, but yet we continue those tradition. We continue these traditions because the reality is, we have two beautiful children on earth and skipping these events and memories will not bring Harper back, it will just take away our joy from the present.
Once again, joy and sadness coincide and my life is an example of what that looks like. We incorporate our girl in the ways that we can – ornaments on our tree, lighting a candle on Christmas Eve and sending balloons to her after Michael’s birthday party each here. She is present, she is so very loved, but she is also so very missed.
You are not alone in missing your loved one this holiday season. In fact, I bet more people are torn the way I am, then happy-go-lucky. Each year brings it’s own set of joys and challenges, but the more I practice intentional joy, truly allowing myself to be present, the easier the holidays have become.