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Observing Christmas After Losing A Loved One

Christmas After Losing a Loved One

Alana Mautone can be found sharing stories of her life, similar to this touching reflection back on the grief at Christmas after the loss of her father-in-law, over at Ramblin’ With AM. Join her there as she dusts off her blog and reengages with her audience as she wraps up 2016.

A Blue Christmas

This post is from December 9, 2009, the first time I wrote about a “Blue Christmas”.  Repeating this post has become a holiday tradition for this blog, because not everyone has a happy holiday season.

In 2015, our family (my in-laws) experienced holiday death in the family again. My brother-in-law’s mother in law passed away right after Thanksgiving.  An aunt’s sister died on Thanksgiving Day.

I was so tired, for various reasons, that I never even decorated last year.

My writing has become more polished over the years but I am not going to do any editing.  This voice from the past is speaking to me, and I hope its message will help some of my readers.

Here’s the post from 2009.

Tis the Season… for Sadness

Happy Holidays!

No, that’s not true.

The holidays are not happy for everyone.

Eleven years ago on December 25…

My spouse and I were at my in-laws on Christmas Day. They live about 150 miles from where we live. We had a nice day with other family members, and settled down to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life”  with my mother-in-law and father-in-law. Then we went to bed.

My father-in-law never woke up. He died during the night of a massive heart attack, his third.

Imagine my mother-in-law, spending the day after Christmas arranging for the funeral of her husband of nearly 50 years. The decisions that had to be made quickly. Oh, so quickly.

The little things, like flowers being almost impossible to come by (flowers being a part of their culture’s funeral tradition). Or us having to borrow clothes for the funeral, as most people don’t visit for Christmas with black clothes in their suitcase! Those little things, in a sea of all the major details, on a holiday weekend.

The family gathered again, this time for a much sadder occasion. Many people came to the funeral home, and it was a great comfort. But then everyone had to go home, including us.

And then the next Christmas rolled around. It was not easy. But we survived, and each year it became easier. My mother-in-law has established her independence and does enjoy Christmas with family.

It never goes away but it does become a bit easier. Although, I have to admit that I have never watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” again.

Years ago I worked with someone whose husband died from cancer on Thanksgiving. In my youth I couldn’t understand why Thanksgiving was so hard for her.

Now I understand.

“Blue Christmas” is more than an Elvis song. For those who have experienced loss; whether that be loss of a loved one, loss of a relationship, loss of a job, the holidays can be so hard to survive. Wherever you go, you are surrounded by smiling Santas, by holiday decorations, by endless carols blaring at work, at the supermarket, at the mall, by constant reminders that everyone is happy. Except you.

But, you are not alone. And you will get through it, although it may take a long time.

Time is your friend. It was for me. I hope it is for you.

Alana Mautone

From the housing projects of New York City to rural Arkansas to upstate New York, I've traveled a long and winding road. I have a BA in Cultural Anthropology and a Masters in Middle Aged Life. I juggle a full time job with daily blogging, helping to care for an elderly mother-in-law, occasional gardening, and advocating for a middle aged brother-in-law with autism. My passion is showing my readers the beauty of the world through the lens of my iPhone and blogging about living in upstate New York.

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