Other Voices: What to do when the holidays are not happy

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The holiday season is rapidly approaching.  For some, this time of year is not met with happy anticipation. Some families are faced with the realization that a loved one is no longer present to enjoy the celebrations. Grief does not go away just because the holidays arrive and, in fact, the feelings may intensify.
Here are some ideas to make this holiday special:
Share a story – spend time talking about your loved one. Recall the ways they used to celebrate the holidays.  
Cook a memory meal. Forget the traditional menu and create a meal consisting of your loved one’s favorite recipes.
Go through old photo albums and create a memory book of holidays past. Scan the photos into the computer and create an album showing gatherings over the years.
Select a special ornament that reminds you of your loved one. Gather everyone around and place this in a special spot and share why you chose this particular ornament.
In the spirit of the holidays, share your blessings. Buy a gift that you would have given to your loved one and give it to a local charity to distribute to someone in need instead.
If you cannot afford to purchase a gift, then give of your time. Volunteer at a local agency as a way to honor your loved one.
Finally,  if possible, go to the cemetery and decorate the grave. If not make your own memorial in a special place.
Take time during the busy holiday season to remember your loved one. You cannot push the grief away and, in taking positive action, you can incorporate your loved one into the season.

Bill Dayton
Pastor of Owenton Church of Christ