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msde302

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I just need to put this out there into the world. I'm not venting, I don't think. I'm not quite sure how I feel exactly.

BUT, my mom passed away just about 6 months ago from ALS. Christmas was her thing. She decorated perfectly, she gave the best gifts, made the best food, and everyone in our large family loved to gather and celebrate.

On Saturday, we had a family Christmas party. The first without my mom. The entire evening, not a single person said a word about my mom. Not my cousins, but more importantly, not one of her four siblings even mentioned her name. A couple of them asked how my dad was doing (my parents were divorced and it's been nearly 7 years since any of those relatives have seen him, as he and my step mom live in Arizona). Just odd, "How's your dad doing?" "Oh, my dad's great! My mom's dead, of course. But let's ignore that, shall we?"

I ended up leaving the party early, friends came over, we drank champagne, ate pie and watched one of the movies my mom and I always enjoyed at Christmas.

I wonder if I should chalk this up to good old fashioned Scandinavian midwestern stoicism? Or that everyone's forgotten but me?
 

lynster

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Hi,

I don't know for sure about you, but in my family there needs to be that one person who opens the gate for others to come in. The one person that says - "Okay, I don't about you, but I am really missing Mom (or Dad, or Sis, or...)" Everyone just seems to be scared to talk about a loved one. Scared they will say the wrong thing, or scared that someone will tell them - "Not now!" As you may have guessed, I am the one person in my family that will bring up the elephant in the room. After that is done, the chorus of family really warms your heart, because what happens is usually you get a wonderful collection of memories shared.

Your family members probably did not want to hurt you by mentioning your mom. Truth be known, they were probably waiting for you to bring it up. Next time, go ahead and speak! It will do wonders for you. It does not matter if there are tears. It does not matter if the stories told are silly. What does matter is that your loved one stays alive by the love and memories in each one of you.

God bless you.
Lynn
 

brendapals

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I agree with Lynn,
I am always the one that unleashes the huge elephant in the room. And, usually, it's well worth it. My brother and sister and I still talk about our brother we lost to ALS almost 4.5yrs ago, and even though his wife lives 1200 miles from here, when she came to visit in Sept, we got HER to talk about him too.
I'm hoping my oldest son will take on the elephant when I'm gone. He does know that I consider myself the person who has the 30 yr warranty with ALS!
I hope you got to talk more openly with your friends and champagne during the movie, and please know our prayers are with you for a blessed holiday,
take good care
-brenda
 

msde302

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Thanks, both of you. You make perfect sense. (And Lynn, when I read your post I cried in my office. My mom's name was Lynn and it was like getting a message from heaven! :) )

I'm spending Christmas in Breckenridge with by dad, step mom, brother and his wife. I mailed ahead our old family stockings and a bunch of the wooden ornaments that my mom hand-painted. So there will be things around us that remind us of our mom. I had a photo restored of my mom rowing a boat as a child to give to my brother. So there will be lots of reminders of our lovely mom. :)

Thanks again for your practical advice!
 

brendapals

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good for you!
May you have a very blessed holiday filled with memories to last a lifetime!
take good care,
brenda:)
 

caroliney

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Memories of our loved ones.

MSDE302,

Thanks for enlightning me on your feelings. I have 4 sons who may share your feelings, and we do need to share our loved ones memories always especially at our Christmas gatherings. Our loved ones would want us to be a complete family thinking of them and being mindful of the happy times.

What a blessing this site is and so inspirational to me every time I come aboard. Very knowledgeable in evey sense!

Happy Holidays to All! xoxoxo
Caroliney:wink:
 

sdsyd

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Hi there. I guess some people prefer the elephant in the closet trick. Have you read Randy Pausch's Last LEcture? His theory is " If there is an elephant in the room- go ahead and introduce it"

I lost both of my parents 12 years ago- less than 3 months apart. I know that Christmas is especially hard, and in fact I can say I didn't "FEEL" Christmas for at least 3 years. I faked it through and even spent a part of a Christmas day at their grave sobbing...( had to run somewhere real quick) returning home to house full of guests to fake it some more.
But it really does get easier as the years pass. I now ENJOY thinking about them- whereas before it always so painful.

just a thought- maybe your relatives didn't want to make you "sad" by bringing her up?They probably didn't even stop to think it would make you sadder that they didn't.

Anyhow- I once again ENJOY Christmas. In fact, I have to go now because my 7 year old daughter keeps recording messages for me to listen to on her pretend phone that say : Please, Mommy- just ONE present? Oh PLEASE, PLEASE!" I need to go and spend some special time with her to get her mind of the presents under the tree.

Love and repect to all that have lost someone near and dear to their heart,Christmas is exceptionally hard.... but it does get easier.
 
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