Christmas is coming, and although for some it’s the best time of the year, you may feel sad and have no idea how to handle it. These feelings may come from the loss of a loved one, from being away from the family, from a divorce or separation and even from unexpected changes such as illness, among others. Some years ago, when I faced the first Christmas alone with my daughter, I felt sad and, on many occasions depressed. The best time of the year had become memories that made a beautiful moment, a sad one.
Since I was little, when the day of thanksgiving arrived, my family began a series of activities and traditions that filled me with happiness and that I remember with a lot of affection. I always wanted to create traditions that my children could remember, treasure and carry from generation to generation, and divorce wouldn’t stop me.
One of my best friends gave me some advice that helped me with what I’m going to share with you later. One of the best advices I have received.
Let's be honest! We all have a friend who tells us the truths, although they hurt, they are the best! The losses are painful - she told me - and whenever you go to a place, or to an activity where you were with that person, the memories will come, and it will be painful. Yes, that will happen, but if you create new memories, in those same places, in those same activities then you can replace existing ones with memories that will fill you with happiness.
In the little mood I had in those days, I decided to continue with my traditions and include my daughter in each one of them; Ten years later, these traditions are still alive, and we keep adding new ones. Here I share five of my inventions with the intention of inspiring you to build your own rituals or traditions, and to fill you with happiness even in the midst of sadness.
- Every Thanksgiving Day, we choose from a list of classic Christmas movies and assign a date to watch them throughout the month of December. This helped me keep my mind busy and avoid bringing sad thoughts to it. Sad thoughts will always come, but the less time we invest, the better we will feel.
- The process of choosing the Christmas tree was always a problem, but as a mother I decided not to give up and overcome everything that made me look weak and unable to put the tree on the car put it on its base.
- Once the tree was mounted and the presents under it, it was time to choose the Christmas day outfit. So, we selected some pajamas for the good night and a headband. With this outfit we take our family photos and these memories remain to this day.
- New Year’s Eve was one of the most difficult to overcome. Usually that day, I took an inventory of what my life was and that year I felt like I have been lose. However, even with sadness and without encouragement I did not stop celebrating it with my family and preparing a delicious Puerto Rican dinner.
- We start the year visiting a new place, breathing fresh air and embracing life.
As you can see everything revolves around the experience, the trip rather than the result. Being able to build the moment, plan it, visualize it and talk about it with my daughter caused us great joy, expectation and made each moment the most special. Creating happy memories strengthened me year after year.
Going through the process of a divorce is not easy, inner healing takes time and getting it to not hurt can take even more. If you do not have children, you can do these activities with your immediate family, or close friends, they will all love it. Do not push yourself, this healing process does not happen overnight.
The day came when I stopped crying, I looked in the mirror and I chose to heal, for my daughter and me.
This Christmas, Show off!