Dealing with grief or feeling sad when everyone expects you to be happy is rough. This is a subject pretty near to my heart. I lost my mother just two days before Christmas in 2012. She was 89, had congestive heart failure and had suffered a massive stroke, so we were expecting it, but it doesn’t make it any easier.
If you are experiencing grief this year, know that you are not alone, we all have periods of sadness during the holidays. Some years are wonderful with few worries and plenty of everything. Others are leaner, more troublesome, and just plain sad. In the good years, the holidays are a lot of fun, but during the sad times, we may not enjoy Christmas all that much, and that’s ok.
There’s a lot of pressure put on us my media and society alike to put on a smile be “merry and bright” during the holidays. We’re magically supposed to be in a good mood on Christmas no matter what’s going on in our lives or around us. Yes, you should hide your pain and sorrow and smile through the tears for your kids. Of course you don’t want to ruin Christmas for those around you. But let’s face it, sometimes life sucks and when it happens around Christmas, it’s hard to put on a show of good cheer.
There’s nothing wrong with being sad around the holidays. If you’ve recently lost a loved one and are facing your first Christmas without them, it’s perfectly normal and healthy to be sad. You miss them, and not being able to share such a wonderful time of the year with this special person makes it harder to feel joy and happiness. When something does put a smile on your face, you may even feel guilty.
Maybe you lost your job a few weeks ago and can’t give your kids the gifts they’ve been asking Santa for. Maybe a relationship fell apart and you’re still trying to figure out what your life looks like now. Lots of different things can happen that will take a lot of the joy out of Christmas. And that’s ok.
Despite the picture TV shows, movies, and Christmas stories paint, our troubles don’t magically go away come Christmas Eve. We are still grieving, broke, and feeling lost. And that’s ok. Life isn’t always perfect. It’s messy, complicated, sad, and sometimes just plain sucks – even on Christmas.
My best advice when you’re having a tough time during the holidays is this. Don’t feel pressured to put yourself in a good mood. Don’t expect to feel better all of sudden. Get through the Holidays the best you can. Do what you need to do for the little ones, and then go and have a good cry. Be mad, be sad, or be angry. Feel what you need to feel to get through this hard period in life.
But also remember this. Things will look up and there are many happy days and happy Christmases ahead. Remember the good times and know in your heart that better times are yet to come.