All of your senses are challenged when you're grieving. The world gets paler. Mom's death would have been hard whenever it happened, but the stress and loss seemed amplified by the festivities around me. In a month drenched with music, lights, and reminders to be cheery, it can feel so much harder to just sit with sad feelings and grieve.
With all this holiday festivity, it may be hard to understand how there's room for anything but Merry; yet every year I struggle with mixed emotions. As much as I want to embrace all the cheer around me, I also feel stressed by all the preparations; I miss my family and the memories of Christmases past.
If all the holiday displays of red and green have left you feeling bluer than blue, take heart because you are not alone. While no formal studies have been conducted on the incidence of the "holiday blues," a mental health expert I recently talked to was quick to say it is not an unusual occurrence.
But the holidays do not have to be so stressful. If we open up our minds a little bit and heighten our awareness to how blindly we subscribe to holiday dogma, we may be able to alter our reaction to it. So, if indeed the drama is partly self-inflicted, then we have the power to "un-inflict" ourselves and let go of the traps we easily fall into.