It's a well-known fact that the holiday season (or any time of celebration, for that matter) can be a challenge after the loss of a loved one. Good cheer, family gatherings, parties, music and decorations all lose something when your life has lost someone important to you (human or animal). This was very fresh and raw for me last year after the loss of my 30-year best friend and her son (within a day of each other), but this year will be better.
I won't get into the clinical/advice aspect of dealing with grief; that's not my point here. I do want to address how I've dealt with it, in case others may find it helpful. Warning: exposed vulnerability!
My Christmas holiday was for a very long time spent with my now-deceased friends, my "family of choice," with much laughter, singing, wonderful food, and warmth. And so last Christmas found me alone, hurting, caught in that troublesome place between longing to be with someone who loved me and wanting desperately to be alone to grieve. Push-me-pull-you. Wishing for that feeling of fun and mystery I had as a young child and with my friends, and knowing it was no longer there.
This year I have healed a bit from that urgency of grief. I take great joy in decorating and music, traditions, coziness, even if just for me - always have. I know for a fact that what I focus on grows, and so, with a clearer heart and whether I'm alone or not, my intent this year is to truly savor my experiences, my close friends, the joys of nature and the season. To know that life does indeed go on. And that the love and warmth I feel will only grow from here.
Make it the happiest of holiday seasons! And so it is.