Death can be a very difficult aspect of life to deal with in the first place. When a death occurs during the holiday season there can be a profound sense of loss that is well outlined by the obvious hole left in the family. When it comes to handling holiday deaths you have to just look inside and follow the belief system that you are most comfortable with.
The home can feel empty when a loved one is lost during the holidays. Decorations are up, gifts are wrapped, and even the pup curled up on the foam dog bed in the corner knows that the season isn’t the same. He can’t tell you what to do, but you’d take his answer. Do you move forward with the holiday or do you stop the season now and offer everyone time to mourn.
There is no right way to handle a death during the holiday season. There is no wrong way to handle it either. Whether you’re packing up the baby bath toys a grandparent bought or you’re concerned with how the children are handling the death of a parent, you only have your best judgment to go on.
Don’t expect anyone to really agree with you no matter how you decide to proceed with the grieving process and the holidays. Some will say the end result depends on which family member passed away while others think that the means of death plays a role. Long term illness can be prepared for. Sudden death can catch everyone off guard. Suicide during the holidays can be a source of anger for everyone. Sometimes it is actually relative. Some people just want to ensure the children still have a holiday.
Older children might feel that holding the holiday might be disrespectful. They often have a strong sense of duty to the morally right, even if they tend to take it too far, as older children are defining their belief system. When you have both older children and younger children in the home, you may not be able to get a consensus.
Families that do not have children to consider still have each other to consider. Often there is just no way to ensure that everyone will get on the same page and offer the same feelings. Instead, many of the family dynamics will lead to bantering and bickering. This can often just lead to more confusion.
What about the gifts? Some people leave the gifts given by the deceased for another time. You may not know whether you’re supposed to return the cashmere sweater, the tickets to the game, or the latest kindle that you purchased or hold onto it and find another use for it later. Giving it to someone else is an option, but it might not be one you feel good about. Only your best inner voice can offer you guidance on personal decisions of celebration and the death of a loved one.