My mother passed away in May from heart failure after a long battle with depression. As my only parent, it was an extremely tragic loss for me and my siblings. As of now, my little brother is living with our aunt and uncle in Texas and my older brother just got back from Iraq, so this will be our first Christmas apart.
My boyfriend's family has been really supportive and has allowed me to live with them over the summer. They have invited me over to their house for Christmas, but I really don't feel like I have anything to celebrate. My brothers and I are very close and I want to spend the holidays with them but it's impossible, as I can't leave my job during the holiday season.
I just don't know what to do anymore; my baby brother seems to be fine and doing well in school and sports, my older brother is taking things really hard and drinking more than ever, and I am right in the middle. Can you offer me any advice or suggestions for how to survive what was my mother's favorite time of year? Somber Savannah
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Dear Somber Savannah
I am truly so sorry to hear about your loss. The holidays can be very emotional and my heart goes out to you and your family. You are very lucky that your boyfriend's family has been so supportive. Since the holidays are hard for you, I am sure they would understand if you chose not to spend Christmas with them.
Where is your older brother currently living? Will he be with your aunt, uncle, and your little brother? Have you told your boss about your loss and your family circumstances? It sounds as though being with your family this Christmas is very important to you so perhaps you could work out a schedule at work so that you can at least spend Christmas day together.
Everyone deals with grief differently and there is no right or wrong way. What was it about the holidays that was so special to your mom? Is there a tradition you had around this time that you could carry on either alone or with your brothers in memory of her? Perhaps you can start a new tradition that will help you keep the spirit of your mother alive.
Time is a great healer. Although the pain of missing your mother will never go away, it will soon become easier to live with. Keep in close contact with your brothers because it is very important that you all maintain your family bond. Try to keep your chin up and happy holidays.