This past year two family members died. This would be her first Christmas season without them.
Last year she was hit by a car leaving her street and so injured she was in a nursing home for months.
The year before that, her husband was killed while riding his motorcycle to work.
All of her holiday decorations had memories attached to them. She needed to talk about her grief and loss. But some of her friends told her to just forget about the past, have a good time, come to a party where there will be lots of alcohol and drugs to help her feel better.
She's still sad today, and now she doesn't want to be social because of the response of her friends.
The older we get, the more loss we have to remember on holidays and special occasions.
My father died on New Years Eve six years ago. I have trouble being happy at New Year's Eve parties even though six years have passed. And his birthday was around Thanksgiving, so when we had our family Thanksgiving dinners, I always brought his favorite chocolate cake for a birthday cake. And I have always made a chocolate cake for Thanksgiving dinner, which I prepare for several friends. And when I serve dessert, instead of feeling like I'm honoring him, I feel sad. This year was the first year I didn't make the cake, because one of my girlfriends offered to bring dessert. She knows how that chocolate cake, which they all love, has such a sad effect on me.
A few years ago, my husband and I noticed that people who grew up with, went to school with, their names were showing in obituaries in the hometown newspaper we read online.
I used to call my mother every Sunday morning at 10 AM when she got home from church. Now she is in assisted living, and when she first moved there, I called at 10AM on Sundays. But I told her I was going to call her at different times and on different days. That's my way of planning for the future when she's no longer here, so I won't be depressed on Sunday mornings.
When someone you love dies, they always remain in your heart. You can move through the grief process, but that sadness and loss will still be there at times.
My friend felt better when she was able to talk about her memories. She had some anger that she vented, and I listened without judging, and hugged her when she needed it.
On New Year's Eve, the people I'm with will give me a hug and know I'm thinking about my father. It's OK to feel loss and grief. It's even more OK when you have someone who will listen to you.