The First Holiday Season After Losing My Mother

The holidays coming up will be the last of firsts after losing my mother to malignant mixed Mullerian tumor (MMMT), or carsinosarcoma. I dread it already. Thanksgiving and Christmas were her favorites. She was an exceptional cook.

I managed to duck out of the Thanksgiving get together this year. I know I will be crying the ugly cry all day, and I don’t want to ruin it. I will be happy to stay home and lay in bed all day and cry.

She always went over the top for Christmas. I learned as an adult that she often took out a loan or pawned something so we kids could have a big Christmas. There weren’t a ton of expensive gifts, just a lot of little things. Things she chose with love.

When she died, I had to have every single thing she had for Christmas. I took it all out today. I don’t know why. I don’t know if it’s because I need to feel closer to her, to cry, or knowing I will unwrap each treasure she had packed away and remember.

She kept everything. Starting from my baby mobile, she lovingly took it apart and made ornaments out of the little wooden pieces. She had every school project from all of the kids and grandkids spanning the years. She kept them, even the ugly ones. She may have hung them in the back, but we knew she always had them on the tree, and we would all laugh. In a way her Christmas tree was the story of our family.

Now they are mine. The baton has been passed. I am now the mom who will treasure every single thing my kids bring home. I am the oldest. I will keep all the family traditions. I’m not ready. I wish I could cancel the day, but I have a child who believes in Santa. So, while I may cry many times through this holiday season, I have to somehow make it through.

If you know someone who has lost someone close this year, please be kind to them. They may say they are fine and have that plastic smile plastered on their face, but you never know… they may be holding themselves together as best they can. We can shatter in the blink of an eye.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Stock photo by finwal

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Grief

Mother and father with two sons on the shore at the beach

The Stepping Stones That Help Our Family Across a Dark Ocean of Grief

Six months ago, tragedy struck, and after a sudden 24-hour illness, my sons and I lost a great man, their father and my husband. Before today, I never really knew how many tears one person could produce and quite how long six months could feel. It can be a torturous eternity. I never knew how [...]
Girl wearing a headband and pink dress with pink rainboots

Falling: A Mother's Grief for Her Child

The other night, I was open and vulnerable with someone. That’s so hard to do intimately now, well, always, but especially now, in a more honest, straightforward way. Later on, I heard a Joni Mitchell song, “Both Sides Now.” It made me think of my daughter, Bella. And just like that, another layer flew off [...]
sad girl is holding heart symbol by her finger

When Life Events Bring Back the Grief of Suicide Loss

I have spent the past year writing a book for those impacted by suicide. The book is titled, “The Gift of Second: Healing From the Impact of Suicide.” You can see a short video trailer for the book here. My hope is this book will be the best possible resource for a fellow survivor trying to navigate [...]
Lisa and her dad, standing near a lawn and garden outdoors

Grief Changes Us

Death is devastating. It leaves behind a trail of broken hearts and shattered dreams. All losses are significant. I consider myself blessed to have had such a strong bond with my father. The months following my father’s death have left me feeling as if I’m walking around with my heart torn open. My grief has slowly [...]