Wednesday, December 11, 2013


The holidays suck.  I said it. They suck. From Halloween to New Year’s Day. There is just no better way to say it. ‘Tis the season, right?
But if you’re grieving, this season brings much more than costumes and Christmas trees.   It brings a great deal of reflection and pain and sadness and a host of other emotions.  I’d like to think I’ve come to terms with that. So now, my job is to try to make it suck less. I was recently asked about ideas for surviving the holiday season in grief, to which my response was simply “Vodka.”
I was half joking, but only half joking.  Because you know what? If vodka works, go for it. If doing the big family gatherings helps, do it. If it makes things worse, stay home. Host Thanksgiving if you want. Boycott the turkey all together if that works. Put up a tree, if you’d like. Be a scrooge if you need to.  
Whatever helps you survive is okay. No matter what that may be. It’s simply about survival. And I think we need to grant ourselves permission to do whatever works.
If I am still breathing, not institutionalized, not incarcerated and halfway functional come January 2nd – I have succeeded. And that…is good enough for me.

Last year was my first Christmas after Jocelyn died. It should have been her first. It was terrible. I bought some toys for a family in need. Money I would have spent on her. I ordered an ornament for our tree. I hung it tearfully and thought of my sweet girl. She had a stocking on our mantle. It remained empty.
I did things to try to lessen the blow of Christmas without my daughter. Some days it helped. Other days, not so much.

This year, I haven’t done any of that. It’s just where I’m at. I can’t find her stocking. And that’s okay. I put the tree up because my son deserves that. I hung her ornament. I didn’t buy a new one. I’ve bailed on shopping with my family, and ordered everything online instead. From my bed. In my pajamas. And it was wonderful. Because that’s what I needed. 
I’m planning to do Christmas at home and keep it low key. And if I change my mind a dozen times in the next few weeks, so be it.  If anyone takes issue with what I need to do in order to survive, let them.

‘Tis the season for survival mode. And I’m in it.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Still standing