Whether this is the first - or yet another - holiday since they've died, this time of year can put a spotlight on grief and loss. Here are some ideas to help get you through to the new year.
Be Kind to Yourself (and each other!)
The holidays can be physically and emotionally draining. Take care of yourself - try to get enough rest, eat healthy foods, get some exercise and drink plenty of water. Don't overdo the eggnog. And if you/they need quiet time - take it! And remember to be patient with yourself and your child. Healing takes time.
Keep your expectations in check.
Expect that things will be different and give yourself permission to set limits for yourself and your children. There is no "correct" or "incorrect" way to negotiate the holidays. Do what feels right, even if others don't understand.
Think about how you want to spend the holidays. Do you want to keep some (or all) of your family traditions, or start something brand new? Share your plans with the people closest to you, and let them know how they can help. (Even if it's just not questioning your choices!) Ask your kids what they're thinking. Let them help decide how you spend this time.
Play it by ear.
There is no absolute formula for navigating through grief. Trust that you know what is best for you and your children - and know that it can change from day to day. Accept that fluctuations are a part of the grief process.
Things may look different next year.
This holiday won't be like those in the past. Over time, your (and your kids') needs will change. Be prepared that a year from now, much will be different.
Allow room for joy.
Laughter and joy are not disrespectful. Give yourself and your family permission to take pleasure in the holidays.