My mother and father passed last year, my father in April and my mother in November. I am not sure how my sister had Thanksgiving dinner 3 days after my mother’s funeral, but she did. Their absence at the holiday table was painful for us and at the same time we knew they were there in spirit. My Mother always said grace at our table so we started a new tradition in our family: one of the great grandchildren would say grace in remembrance of her. At the end of the meal, we sat around the table and each of us shared a memory of Grandma and Grandpa and what we were grateful for in having them in our life. It was our way of including them in our Thanksgiving celebration.

Last Christmas was our first Christmas without Grandma and Grandpa and we knew that our children, like us, would feel that painful loss. We could not change the fact that they would not be present so my sister and I decided to honor them with a poem and a gift for each grandchild. As I read the poem “Remember Me” each grandchild had the opportunity to reflect on his relationship with his grandmother and grandfather and remember how special the bonds of family and generations are. Every grandchild was given a remembrance gift of a timepiece to remind them that time heals all wounds and that their grandparents will be with them always.

For those of you who have lost a loved one, the holiday season can be especially difficult. Nothing can bring your loved one back nor can erase the pain of the loss, but there are things you can do to honor them, include them, to remember them at holiday celebrations. Maybe it is preparing a special dish that they liked, or playing a song that reminds you of them, or saying a prayer for them: whatever feels right for you. Sharing memories of your loved one helps you to focus on the good times with them and honors the relationship you had and still have with them. The love that we share never dies and including their energy in our holiday celebrations honors them and our love for them.

May you have a blessed holiday, full of love and good memories.

Linda West

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