Grieving a passed loved one is never easy and it just gets harder during the holidays. Typically a time for togetherness, the holidays can highlight the absence of that loved one in distinct, painful ways.
Since losing my own mother to Glioblastoma Multiforme brain cancer in 2009, I've struggled with how to best honor her memory over the holidays. Based on my experience and those of others, here are 4 ways to honor a lost loved one during the holidays.
1. Leave an Empty Seat at the Dinner Table
This tradition started by literal accident for our family. The first Thanksgiving after my mother passed, I made my father, brother and I a dinner reservation at a beloved family restaurant. I automatically made it for four people, as a matter of reflex. Once the time came to sit down, we of course had an empty seat. And somehow what started as a mistake became a treasured family tradition. Mom always has a seat at our table even now, 14 years later.
2. Cook a dish they loved
As our family has grown and changed, we have tried to hold on to certain dishes that we know my mother loved. The dish isn't always the same depending on various circumstances and logistics, but I try to always incorporate something she loved in our special meal. This year, I'm attempting to replicate her spice cookies with my own daughter.
3. Incorporate something of theirs into your holiday decor
Now that my children are older, I can safely bring out my mom's favorite tree ornaments without fearing their destruction. Her paper maiche angels hang proudly on our Christmas tree, front and center where all guests and family can see them. As I hung them up this year, I was able to explain to her grandchildren where they came from and why they're so important to me.
4. Donate to a charity in their honor
Did your loved one have a favorite cause or charity that they were passionate about? Consider donating to that cause this year in their honor and name.