Grief and Loss During the Holidays
I know I said I’d try to cheer up, I didn’t lie. I’ve been much more cheerful. And those regrets I listed in my post titled Get Me Through December: A Symbolic New Beginning, I’ve let them go, to some extent. But it’s the holidays. And no adult makes it through the holidays without thoughts of loved ones who have passed away, or of childhood lost. I don’t think it can be done.
My regret of not having children weighs heavily on me at this time of year. Perhaps it’s a reasonable thing to think that I might have revisited my childhood as an observer if I’d had children, I don’t know. I know that I miss my own childhood at Christmas.
And I miss my mother. She made my Christmases what they were, not overly sensational, and yet very special. One of the things I miss about Christmases in her presence was her own joy at the season. Her happiness was enough to make me happy as a child. She taught me that lesson of sharing joy.
As someone with ADHD, I suffer poor self awareness, low self esteem and a great ability to judge myself harshly. It takes little to confirm my self denigrating thoughts, being alone adds to the load.
Last year I was still numb from the loss of my wife. In a way, it was anaesthetizing. Yet looking back at it makes my heart ache. My family and friends rallied round me, and while it was my worst Christmas ever, it would have been so much harder without them. I felt alone for Christmas last year, I won’t this year.
And yes, ADHD is in high gear for the holidays
ADHD symptoms are context sensitive. Any traumatic life experience, any single one, makes things harder. Heap a few together and you are in for a storm. The holiday season is hard enough, but add grieving and see what you get. Lose a friend at this time of the year and it seems the wound will never heal.
Still, the loss doesn’t have to be this time of year. Lose a friend or loved one you cared for deeply at any time and then head into the holiday season without them. Why is it that we with ADHD can forget an appointment we made this morning, but we seem to hold onto heartache forever.
A dear friend of mine, Linda Roggli of the ADDiva Website, has lost her father this week in a car accident. Though Linda and I have never met in real life, she was there for me when my wife passed away. Her honest and heartfelt words were a comfort I appreciated.
Her loss has again reminded me of the people missing from my life. But I am now the stronger one, offering my condolences to her.
I’ve experienced the loss of a grandparent near Christmas, and the loss of a friend. I’ve also endured the loss of a parent, and the loss of a spouse. When this happens the holidays do not cheer us, they remind us that those people are missing from our lives.
And though I am stronger now, I have no words of wisdom to offer those who feel alone this holiday season beyond these two things. First, you grieve the missing because of the positive impact they had on you, to not have had that would be a far greater loss. And second, the holidays will end, the world will turn, the days will pass … in short, time will go on and you will regain strength and momentum.
In time, you may find that the grief will become less painful, more memorial.
Babcock, K. (2012). Grief and Loss During the Holidays. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 24, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/adhd-man/2012/12/grief-and-loss-during-the-holidays/