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.
When the loss is in the home, everything can feel wrong. You want to take down the decorations. You want to protect the kids from the news but you don’t want to celebrate. You notice that everything is somber, even the dog lays mournfully on the foam dog bed and looks on with sorrow. It can be overwhelming and you might feel a need to bring joy into the house.
At no time do you have to pressure yourself into making the right decision. There isn’t one. Stocking stuffers like new baby bath toys and those neat little race cars can be hard reminders or a source of joy. The path is not one that comes with a good map.
Some people indicate that the decision can be made based on who it was that passed away. Not every family agrees with this and there can often be great arguments that crop up. The entire family needs to be able to come together and discuss the possible solutions and try to agree on the next right step in the process. There are often young children to think of, and young children do not always equate death with sadness because they do not completely understand.
You may run into resistance if you have older children at home. Many times kids who are finding their voice of right and wrong stand on principles that are extreme. It’s their voice because they have just found it, and they may become ultra insistent that everyone do the right thing.
Even without children, many families can end up stuck regarding how to handle the grieving and the holiday. When two or more adult siblings try to come together to decide the best course of action you can often expect there to be disruption and arguing, which really isn’t very helpful in the end.
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.