This is my first holiday without Mom who died in April. Any ideas on how to cope?

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I can't seem to get myself together.

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The first year after Mom died, Dad and I had friends from the church over for dinner that did not have families they were able to spend the day with.
My husband died in early November, and Thanksgiving was tough because we had always hosted Thanksgiving dinner for his family. We went ahead and did it again, in memory of him, until I sold the house last year. The one that was hard was New Year; my son and DIL and I went to my sister-in-law's for Christmas, and then I went with him and his wife to her folks, who live some distance away but in the same city as some of my own family. I spent New Year's Eve with DIL's family, and they did their family Christmas on New Year's so they could include us, and then I spent a couple of days with a niece I had grown up with--at that point, I needed to be with my own people, especially ones who had been close to my husband as well.
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I find I will always miss my mom, however the first set of holidays are the most difficult. I used remembrance as a way to cope, I remembered all the traditions and the times we spent in the past, I've tried to pass those traditions on to my family members. Our loved ones are always with us in our hearts and our memories. Cherish those moments as a way of honoring her.
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Dear Katiekat2009: This is my third Christmas without my mom. That first year of holidays, birthdays, and special moments was definitely the hardest, especially on Christmas and Mother's Day. What I did, and still do to this day is to focus on all the good memories I had with her pertaining to the specific holiday. For example, and this is just one of many, on Christmas when she was well enough to go places, I would take her to our home and decorate the tree while she pulled the ornaments out of the boxes (sitting in her favorite chair) then handed them to me. Most of our ornaments have something a special memory attached to them. I would play her favorite Christmas music and after we were done, I would sit with her and just look at the tree with the lights on. I still do this now even though she is no longer with us, but the memories are there, and it seems like she is still there in that chair with me. Sometimes the memories still bring tears to my eyes, but they are really happy tears because they remind me of the "good ol' days". Each of us has to grieve and "remember" in our own ways, but whatever way that may be, it takes time and patience. God bless you this Christmas as you go through this difficult time. Remember to take care of yourself -- it helps to keep you strong.
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Perhaps start a new tradition of some sort - whether it's going away or eating something different. Not to ignore the memory of her or the pain of her loss, but to help you cope.
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My Mother also died in April on Easter Sunday at the age of 98. We all miss her but she was ready and we have a lot of happy memories. When I decorated the Christmas Tree this year and again saw the Christmas ornaments she made it was a good feeling. May God Bless you.
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And don't let anyone tell you what you "should" do. You know that yourself so do what is "necessary" for you. Those close to you will understand, even if it's to just sit quietly with you and be there if you need them.
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I'm sure you remember hearing your Mom laugh and seeing her smile, even if it was a long time ago. Try to do things that would make your Mom laugh/smile/giggle/or some sort of tradition. It could be making her favorite holiday cookies; doing something you know would make her smile or giggle, torture her next door neighbor she never liked (HA! just kidding...sort of :: smile ::)

Don't be afraid to reminisce - tell stories about your mom to your family and friends that will make all of you smile. It's okay if you cry. They will understand. You can never replace your loss of her, but you can ensure she lives on.

I wish I had done that. I was just a heap of sadness and grief for many years. So, please, learn from me. I'm in so much trouble next time I see her (in the afterlife), it's not even funny. Hopefully my advice to you will gain me a few brownie points.. ;)

Hang in there! When all is said and done...your Mom must've been quite a special person to evoke these emotions from you. You are lucky for that. So was I. (( HUGS ))
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katiekat, you are entering what I call "The Year of Firsts" - first Christmas without X, first birthday, etc. I am far from the poster child on accepting and dealing with death of a loved one. Frankly, it just sucks and you just have to cry/plow through it.

I'm rather hopeful others on this board can offer you ways to cope than I can. All I can offer to say is... don't beat yourself up if you find yourself crying - not just during holidays but at weird/odd moments like in grocery stores when you see something your Mom may have liked to try.

It's a process. Hopefully, yours will be faster than mine.
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Everybody has a different experience with loss, if you are open to it, you might try adopting a needy family for the holidays, or even one child who doesn't have parents. It would take your mind off of yourself.
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The holidays are a very hard time of year, but It could help to possibly do taxes, as you'll be prepared in advance for April 15th, and doing something such as taxes hopefully won't bring on sentimental feelings. Hope all goes well.
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