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I'm so sorry for your loss.
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Thank you all for your responses. With dementia they are gone in many ways for along time before they ever pass from us. I remember once when my mother was no longer vocal and I was driving her to my house for the holidays before she moved in with me, we were listening to Christmas music on the car radio and she shockingly started to sing along to Jingle Bells! What a gift that was, one I will always treasure. As hard as this ravaging disease is, wondering how you and your loved one will ever get through it, through to the end without a good outcome, one has to cherish those moments and times with the person who once was as the alternative without them is even sadder. God Bless you all and thank God there is this forum and people who care. Try and have a good holiday in anyway you celebrate.
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Work on new traditions, just don't try and recreate the holiday plan that used to include your loved one. If as a mother you always hosted christmas dinner this year have one of the kids do it. No one will expect you to be jolly so you can go to another room and sit quietly if the mood becomes too sad. If the Christmas gift giving is too stressful this year, just don't do it switch to gift cards or money or something like a gift basket if that is affordable. Lots of things will not be the same and holidays are very painful the first year till you can get beyond that. Just do what feels right for you even if it means staying in bed and crying all day. Someone i know who is alone goes to a movie on Christmas afternoon. It's probably too soon to volunteer the first year, that can come later. Blessings.
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I’m very sorry for your loss. I lost my mom 2 days before Thanksgiving last year. She also had dementia, so I guess I really had lost her years before. Everyone encouraged me to not have my family over for the Holidays, and I should have listened. I wasn’t much fun to be around, and didn’t even decorate the house.

I would have to say, don’t pretend everything is ok when it’s not. Don’t engage in parties or celebrations if you don’t want to. Take time for yourself and for quiet reflections. Holidays are stressful for everyone.
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I’m so sorry for you. I know it’s got to be hard. How about going to listen to a couple of local Christmas concerts by yourself or with another single friend when you can. Drive around & enjoy the lights. Go to dinner with a friend. I’m in a similar situation - my husband is in the latest stages of Alzheimer’s & I don’t feel right celebrating without him. It feels like he’s gone. On Christmas I plan to visit my husband for awhile & then come home & watch a movie or something. I hope after my husband is no longer here I’ll be able to feel like going out & joining in a little more but I know it will take time to be happy again. I miss him terribly after being married for 40 years.
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I'm sorry for the loss of your loved one. I think the "first" of anything without them is beyond difficult. I'm struggling a bit with this myself. I suggest doing something you enjoy, whatever it is would be a good place to start. It can be small like staying in and renting movies all day with a big bowl of popcorn or volunteering or travelling to a city you like or have always wanted to visit. Above all, be kind to yourself and don't put too many expectations on what the day "should" involve. Just let things be and enjoy where you are and don't let the expectations of others drive your choice. Bless you.
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