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The holiday season is by far my favorite time of year. I absolutely adore seeing the strings of lights cascading down the city streets. Trying to find the perfect gift for each family member gives me so much adrenaline, it’s just like a game. One of my absolute FAVORITE things about the holiday season when I was a kid was spending time with my grandmother. I would get so unbelievably excited when she would come to visit. My grandmother has always and will always be my inspiration in life. She was the most kind-hearted person I have ever had the utmost honor of knowing.
I can still remember clear as day how she would get all dolled up for family dinner on Christmas day, proudly sporting her Christmas broach. She used to run around the kitchen trying to help everyone prepare food while they all urged her to sit and relax a bit. Of course she wouldn’t listen to them and kept making her rounds until someone would let her do something. She would often bake all sorts of different treats for my sisters and I, and her cherry cheesecake was something I waited all year for.
When we sat down at the table to eat, I always had to sit beside her. My grandmother was my favorite part of the holidays. This is why, despite my love for the festivities, I often find myself feeling blue at times. When I was a teenager, my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. On Thursday, April 2nd, 2009 she passed away. During the holiday season my mind drifts back to all the wonderful times we had. This is the time of year that I miss her the most and every holiday I re-live this loss. Sometimes I still find myself waking up on Christmas morning with feelings of excitement, awaiting her arrival. I pull up to my parents home and part of me expects to see her car in the driveway. I smell the turkey cooking in the oven and I swear I can almost hear her voice. I know that she’s gone yet my mind fails to spare me of these feelings.
Personally, when I’m upset I tend to internalize my feelings. I know that my mother misses her dearly as well, especially during this time of year. I feel that if I allow myself to break down it will only make it worse for her. One thing that I find very helpful during this time is to think of all the wonderful family I still do have. Spending time with my amazing niece often lifts the feelings of loss, even if only for a short while.
But the thing that helps me the most is to be thankful for all the good memories I have of my grandmother and taking a moment each Christmas to thank her for all the love and positivity she surrounded me with. If any of you are dealing with loss this holiday season, I hope that you are able to find solace in your positive memories as well, and knowing that you aren’t alone in your feelings. It’s okay to miss them, it’s okay to feel sad sometimes but try to leave yourself some room to feel a little bit of joy and happiness as well. Happy holidays everyone!
Adrienne (BA Psychology) is a Child and Youth Worker (CYW) student at Fanshawe College, currently on placement with mindyourmind. She has a passion for psychology and mental wellness, and loves working with children and youth. In her spare time, Adrienne enjoys nature, discovering new music and visiting with her niece "Ella" (while secretly analyzing her developmental milestones).
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