Holiday Grief

By: Cindy Stepanek

Christmas was my mom’s favorite time of year. Sometime in the fall when the leaves start to change and the air became crisp, my mom started to morph into the happy mom. This was the time of year that gave me hope we would eventually have a Hallmark® moment kind of relationship. It was in this season I knew she loved me. It has been 26 plus years since she lost her battle to breast cancer and I still miss her during this season.

This year seems to be a little harder than most. Maybe it is the job changes, health issues, my daughter’s deployment …who knows what. All I know is that this year has been harder than the others. I am feeling the absence of my mom more than the previous years.

Normally when I feel this sadness and loss, I try to talk myself out of my feelings. I am never really successful because I use stupid arguments on myself. My favorite is, “Seriously, you are still missing your mom. You didn’t even have a good relationship. What is wrong with you? Are you some kind of crazy?” This is not the way I would talk to a friend to encourage them, so I do not know why I talk to myself like that or think it should work.

The holidays are supposed to be a happy time and I have never shared my holiday grief with anyone. I put on my happy face and try to get through this season. One morning I was having a very difficult time and no amount of lecturing myself was working. I decided to procrastinate and spend time on the Internet but first I checked email. The first email that caught my eye was from my friend Chris and said, “Read this” with a link that followed. I clicked on the link and found a well-written article about grief. The author Kiran Aldridge eloquently shares her experience and insights on grief. Please take a moment to read her article.

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