Family members, including caregivers, often feel mixed emotions after a loved one dies on a holiday. It can be Christmas, New Year’s, Thanksgiving, or even April Fools’ Day.
My father died on March 31, eight years after my mother’s passing on April 1.
My father called me on April Fools’ Day. I thought he was joking. He never called me long-distance, he thought it was too expensive. But this was an exception. He had to share the sad news: My mother died.
Families who lose a loved one on a holiday or even a birthday, feel mixed emotions.
As a result of her passing on April Fools’ Day, for 23 years, I’ve steered clear of pranksters on April 1.
My father-in-law died on Thanksgiving Day in 2015. My mother-in-law was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer on her 65th birthday, less than a year after they celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary (pictured here). She was buried on my husband’s birthday.
Know that it will take whatever time necessary to cope with grief. While I don’t retreat completely, on these holidays and other days, I take time to reflect and remember the legacy left by those whose lives impacted mine.
If you or your friend can’t get into the holiday spirit, it might be because s/he needs time to grieve. That’s okay. Coping with grief doesn’t have a schedule. It takes whatever time it needs. Sometimes, it rests a while before a rush of emotions fill the heart.
If you’re a friend of someone who is still grieving, the best gift you can give is to sit with your friend in silence or be ready to listen. You may ask a question or two to see if s/he feels like talking. Then all you need to give is the gift of your time as you listen to his/her remembrances.
By: Brenda Avadian, MA