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 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.