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Grieving and Looking Ahead at the Holidays

During the holidays grieving for lost loved ones can be especially painful. Kay Lynn Akers of Weight Chronicles chooses to look forward to alleviate the sadness she feels.


In 2011 my husband and I were traveling to Kansas to spend the Christmas holidays with my mom, stepdad, sister, brother and many other family members.  For many years I wasn’t able to spend the holiday with them because my ex-husband and I shared the kids and I didn’t want to miss a single Christmas with them. Now they are grown and live elsewhere so we were free to split out holidays between parents.

Other than taking a long detour to avoid a winter storm the trip (and holidays) was uneventful. No one knew it was my mother’s last Christmas.

Looking Ahead and Holiday Grief

Holiday Grief Triggers

As we navigated the first holiday season without her, I found that there are many triggers that bring waves of emotion. Just when you think the journey is getting easier it gets much harder.

Whether it’s traditions, the holiday table seating or exchanging gifts these holiday activities may accentuate that a loved one is not present.  For me it was the things I wasn’t doing for my mom such as sending a card and buying gifts. There’s also sadness that it means I won’t ever receive a gift from her again.

It’s just as hard for my sisters, brother and stepdad but we’re all finding ways to navigate  the season.


That Christmas, I accepted that I was going to be blue at times and it’s okay to cry.  I also focused on the fact that was most likely my father-in-law’s last Christmas (he was on hospice care) and doing what I could to make it wonderful for him.

My sister took on the role of distributing gifts my mother had already bought for family members but not given out.  My son was surprised and happy to get one last gift from Grandma.

My stepfather took a trip to spend the holidays with his children.  We all know it’s not going to be the same.

Looking Forward

The Christmas of 2012 was the the hardest as our loss was still fresh.  I knew that the next year would be happier, since we would be celebrating with three new grandchildren in the family.  Life goes on, and that’s really what Christmas is all about; the promise of  life.


Kay Lynn Akers

Kay Lynn Akers is a long-distance grandmother who lives in Southern California with her husband and pets after their five adult child fled the state. Her day job in at a technology company but she never lost interest in writing. After serving as the newspaper editor in high school and a community newspaper journalist in college, Kay Lynn didn't publish again until she found blogging in 2009. Her current blogs are Two Savvy Sisters /(co-founded with one of her sisters) which is a frugal living site and Weight Chronicles which is about wellness and health. Instagram: weightchronicles

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Joan stommen

Thursday 11th of December 2014

Thank you Kay. Just reading and knowing that others feel this way helps me. This is second year without my husband and I'm breaking tradition a bit by not doing all his decorating and going away for Christmas. The change and having something to look forward to helps, but I wake up sad lots of mornings lately. Funny how not having him or my mom to give me presents is so real and painful. Didn't expect a selfish feeling like that or maybe it's anger. Best wishes and hugs to you for these next few weeks sweet friend.

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