What I’ve learned about surviving the holidays after losing a parent

coffee mug at grave

I had another article published this past week, add it to the list of topics I wish I knew nothing about: surviving the holidays after losing a parent.

It’s been almost 11 years and yet I’m feeling a bit like a 41 year old orphan during the holidays still. Even with a husband, kids, siblings, and yes… a father’ the feeling of “it never will be the same” still rings true.

Here is the article:

moms grave with christmas wreath

The love of one person can light up a holiday and leave the memories of past holidays with them forever perfect in our minds.

Here is a passage I wrote from 2014, “Thanksgiving is next week. We have no plans. My grandma is in her 90’s now and had to quit hosting dinner for the holiday a couple years ago. Going to her house was my family tradition my whole life until the past couple years, we’d pack into the car and drive 2 hours. Up, up and then over the big hill to see Lake Superior spread out in front of us, we were almost there.  Delicious food, cousins, aunts and uncles would all pack together in her house for a few hours. Most of the men watched sports downstairs, while the women were catching up and playing with the kids upstairs. There were always homemade pies, and I can still picture the scalloped potatoes served up on floral china. In my mind are clear visions of mini turkey shaped salt and pepper shakers, bowls of candy corn and mints in the middle of the tables. After dinner we’d all look through the Black Friday ads together. Cousins of all ages taking over one another and the younger ones running in and out of the rooms. It was a time to catch up with aunts and uncles, and as I got older it was also time with my parents and siblings too. It was magical.

“We would make a plan for what we wanted as kids, circling ads. Then years later we’d plan out together with the ads what we might get our own kids. A few times I was lucky to experience the holidays at my Grandma’s while being there with my daughter, my mother and her mother. What I would give to get to sit in that experience again for even 5 minutes…   click here to continue reading.



My message to each of us: Don’t underestimate the impact you make on others, and also don’t underestimate your ability to create magic yourself.

noelle rollins art