When you are feeling blue or mourning the loss of someone dear in your life, happiness can be hard to come by during a season that focuses on being merry. Turning to your family as a support system to get you through the upcoming weeks can be the best answer. Consider reaching out to your family to assist you in making decisions regarding the traditions and tasks that you usually take on during the holidays. Make a list of all the things that you traditionally do such as buying gifts, decorating your tree and/or house, sending Christmas Cards, reaching out to old friends, volunteering your time at church or a local organization, going to parties. Have a good look at the list and see what is still important to you or what you might be able to forego this year. Then have an honest and upfront conversation with your family seeking their assistance with these tasks before the stresses of the holiday season get everyone out of balance. Taking these steps early on will bring back some of the joy that has gone missing while the memories of a loved one lost weighs heavy on your mind.
A few Thanksgiving holidays ago, I received a small card in the mail from a friend. The message was short and quite simple. It read "Thank you for being in my life. I am grateful for you everyday." Wow! That made an impact on me. During this season everywhere we look we see messages wishing us "Happy Thanksgiving"; from advertisers hoping for huge Black Friday sales, on social media with cute dancing turkey GIFs and with decorations in stores, businesses and homes. There is so much focus on the day, the dinner, the pies, the relatives flying in from out of town, so much to take our minds off what is the very simple message of this wonderful holiday....to give thanks. Maybe this year, if you have time before the day when loved ones gather, think about a few special people, maybe those who may be alone on Thanksgiving. Is there a way you can say thank you to them, for being a special part of your life?
You may have heard of the Mexican holiday, Diá de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and thought that it was simply a Mexican version of Halloween. The holiday is actually a multi-day celebration, coinciding with Halloween, the American holiday on October 31, All Saints' Day on November 1 and All Souls Day on November 2. Diá de los Muertos is rich in Mexican culture and is an important holiday to honor and remember those who have passed away. Up until recently, many people were not aware of the true meaning of Diá de los Muertos, which includes celebrations filled with colorful painted skeletons known as Calavera Catrinas. But recently, the Disney animated movie "Coco" gave a glimpse into the rich traditions of this holiday. If you have not seen the movie, it is a wonderful, colorful, loving look at the way families and friends gather together to remember those who have died and help them through their spiritual journey. The holiday includes celebrating by setting up altars, visiting and tending grave sites, writing poetry and decorating with calaveras. Traces of this celebration can be found back as far as the Aztec culture. How can you join in Diá de los Muertos? Find a community near you that is celebrating or simply take time to reflect on loved ones lost to you and wish them well on their journey home.