Guest Post: The Holidays Without You

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An empty place setting, an unpurchased present, and a fun tradition. The holidays can be a tough time after losing a loved one. I’m sure you can relate to these feelings. Things you never noticed you did together become clearer than ever. Whether you are facing an anniversary, a birthday, or the Holidays, the day can be one huge dark cloud that reminds you of everything that you lost.

Is there a way to navigate through this time a little easier? Let me share my story with you…

I was just 26-years-old when my husband passed away. To be honest, most holidays and even birthdays were not a huge celebration for us. We found it funny that we shared a bank account and still bought each other presents. So instead, we combined our birthdays that were still 5 months apart and put the money towards an adventure or experience together.

Nearly three years ago to the day, we decided to go to Reno, Nevada over Thanksgiving. We were living in Boise, Idaho at the time and were going to leave Thanksgiving Day morning and drive six hours. We wanted to look up where we were going to eat that night. We suddenly realized that there were not many options open on Thanksgiving Day. We then decided to Google what fast food options would be open. To our surprise, Jack-In-The-Box was open. I’m not sure what made us pick that one, but we thought it would be funny to have Thanksgiving dinner there. We ordered a large dinner and shakes afterwards for dessert. The following two years we made it our tradition to go to Jack-In-The-Box for Thanksgiving dinner and planned to carry that tradition on forever. As you already read, forever came a lot sooner than anticipated.

This brings me to this Thanksgiving. Just like many memorable days I previously shared with my husband, Thanksgiving will suddenly feel a lot emptier. When I first thought of what I will do for Thanksgiving I thought I would do exactly what James and I would do on Thanksgiving. I would relax that day, enjoy the day off, watch some football, and enjoy some Jack-In-The-Box. I soon realized that is not my life anymore. By doing everything that I would be doing if he was here my day would only feel that much emptier.

I was invited to a dinner on Thanksgiving Day. I decided to say yes to it. This will allow me to be around caring people. Some of these people know my story, and some of them will become a fresh new face to my new life. After the dinner on my way home I will stop at Jack-In-The-Box and grab a shake. I feel like these actions are the most positive steps forward I possibly can do. It allows me to remember my wonderful husband, remember our funny memories together, but also not dwell on the fact that he is not here.

Everyone has bad days. Luckily, I have far more good days than bad ones. Bad days come and sometimes there is nothing you can do about it. Developing a plan of action, especially on days you know will be tougher than others can make life so much easier. It’s always wonderful to continue doing traditions to allow yourself to remember your loved one. Surround yourself with people that you know will be there for you, do something that will truly make YOU happy, and incorporate some fond memories from your previous holidays together.

Laura shares her journey of love, loss, and moving forward on Instagram. Follow her at @AdventuresAfterYou75.

Laura shares her journey of love, loss, and moving forward on Instagram. Follow her at @AdventuresAfterYou75.

By doing this, I want to personally congratulate you…you have decided to live life.

“Be proud of every step you take no matter how big or small”

-Laura Leanne

Patricia Cruz