Honoring The Loved Ones We’ve Lost During The Holidays

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Honoring The Loved Ones We've Lost During The HolidaysMy Thanksgiving table will have two more empty chairs this year. My Christmas festivities will never again include my Dad reading the Christmas story from his bible, turning paper-thin pages, worn from earnest study. My Mamaw won’t be bringing her delicious pies to our Thanksgiving dinner, or making her sausage balls and mini bbq hotdogs on Christmas Eve.

My family has suffered great loss over the years.

We’ve lost my grandparents, my husband’s grandparents, my mother-in-law whom I sadly never had the chance to meet…and most recently we lost my Uncle, my Mamaw and my sweet Dad. We’ve somehow learned to live without them, although we’re still trying to make sense of life and love with them gone.

The holidays are especially difficult as we remember loved ones we’ve lost. My Dad and Mamaw were two of the most important people in my life, and there was not a single holiday in my 37 years before they passed that didn’t include both of them in leading roles.

But despite the heaviness that surrounds this time of year, I know that they would want me to enjoy the holidays just as if they were here. Dad would want me to give my son the same traditions that he gave me. He would want me to make sure that, amidst the hustle and bustle and excitement of the season, we take time to stop and honor the true meaning of Christmas. Mamaw would want me to spoil my son just like she would have done. She’d want us to continue our huge holiday get-togethers with lots of home-cooked food and family togetherness.

So I choose to embrace the season and the magic of it all. This year, instead of dreading the holidays, I’ve been watching Hallmark Christmas movies since Halloween to get in the mood. I’m starting the Christmas festivities a little earlier than usual this year. I’m being intentional about it. I’m trying to imagine the joy I’ll see in my son’s face when we decorate the tree, or when he opens presents on Christmas morning. And it’s working! I am truly excited about the holidays this year.

Yes, there will always be an empty place in my heart and my holidays for the loved ones I’ve lost, but I will do my best to honor them in this season, and make sure to pass onto my son the best of what they gave me.

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