Dealing With Loss & Strained Relationships Around The Holidays

I know for some the holidays can be hard – particularly when we have loved ones lost, who we no longer get to celebrate the holidays with.


This pic is of my late grandmother – “Bea.” My father called her Bea, so we did as well – kinda weird looking back, as I couldn’t imagine referring to my mom as Sharyn 😂, but we didn’t think much of it as kids. I just remember when writing cards out, I’d write: “Dear 🐝,” at least as well as I could draw at the time.


I’ve certainly lost others in my life, but w the Holiday season, Bea not being here always feels extra empty. She was a NYer through & through. Lived in Manhattan, would walk around the city alone till she was in her upper 80s, & especially loved the Xmas & holiday season, just going arnd to see the store windows & decorations.


She also had a love for the ballet & opera, two loves that couldn’t have been of less interest to my brothers & I. That said, every holiday season, she would save up to spring for tickets to take us to the ballet: The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center. Something about the big costumes & larger than life characters that allowed us to grin & bare what she loved most – having family surround her as she got to go see a show.


That’s a tradition that stopped once Bea passed in the early 2,000s, along w the celebration of her bday, on January 1st. She’d live to be 92 before cancer took over, & so how could we possibly complain about all the time we had w her. All of that said, there is a hole that won’t ever be filled, arnd the Holiday times, w/o her here, & so yes, this time is festive, but similar to many of you, hard as well. No one can compare levels of loss & pain, but we can relate & say, “I feel you, you’re not alone.”


Brought up in stories that while loss of loved ones is a big theme this time of year, I’m hearing more & more about estrangement/awkwardness w/in families being rough as well. Parties we all used to have together as large groups…huge fam photos w everyone smiling…inside jokes that would never be forgotten each yr.


Just a theory here as to why this is happening more often these days, but before technology, we’d see each other arnd the holidays, connect, & catch up, & enjoy the jolly & reunion type atmosphere.


However, w technology & social media, we are all up in each other’s business – not necessarily in a good way all the time. You’d think being able to see photos of babies growing, & special events you’d usually have to wait till this time to hear about, would be all positive. However, for many, these interactions are replacing the phone. They’re replacing meeting up for a quick coffee to share pics even before the holiday comes.


It’s also making us see a side of each other that may not always be putting our best foot forward – how often one posts, the fine line btwn pridefullness & being braggadocios. We’re forming more opinions of each other from afar, & not talking them out. We are MORE connected in terms of # of interactions, yet LESS connected in terms of quality of interactions than ever before in this history of this planet.


So, couple of things – I think many/most can relate when it comes to difficult fam dynamics. Know you’re not alone. Secondly, if you can, try to use this time to address things, & move past them, if you’re in person, & can actually talk.


Maybe you want to save it till the holidays are over – & just be merry, these days. Maybe that fam member doesn’t even show to the get together any more. But, consider making plans to at least meet after & talk things out. Maybe it’s beyond repair, maybe it’s not…but this is the one time of yr ppl go out of their way to try to get together. If you can use it to move things forward or find closure, maybe that resonates w you. If not, once again, fam dynamics are hard, & just know w the weirdness or sadness you feel, you’re not alone. Happy holidays, all!

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