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This will be our family’s first holiday season without my
dad. It’s going to be difficult, and I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about
ways to help all of us through it. Here are 5 ways we will be remembering Dad
during the holidays:
purchased a flameless candle hand painted with a beautiful poem and golden
dragonflies. The dragonflies are significant because of a children’s book on
death I was given to read with my young daughter after Dad died. She loves
them, and the candle, which will be placed prominently in our home throughout
2. Photo ornament
family celebrates Christmas, so I purchased a photo memory ornament for our
tree. I printed out one of my favorite pictures of Dad, and when we get the
tree up, together we will find the perfect place to hang it. I also got one for
my mom to place on her tree.
3. The old and the new
Growing up, my family had some wonderful holiday traditions, and I have
enjoyed carrying on my favorites with my husband and daughter. This year,
however, we all felt the need to do some things a little differently. We’re going to take a family walk on the
beach Thanksgiving Day, for example. Something, ironically, my dad would have
loved but we never did before.
4. A gift from BaBop
Even though he can’t physically be with us, the gift of his love can live on.
My dad loved to dote on my daughter. Before his dementia progressed, he was
known to show up to our home with small trinkets for her; things he had bought
on impulse because he knew she would love them. So this year, there will be a
present under the tree for her from, “BaBop.” Even though he can’t physically
be with us, the gift of his love can live on.
5. The elephant in the
I believe it's very important we acknowledge the joy and the pain this
holiday season will bring. It is normal and perfectly OK to be both happy and
sad. I know emotions will be running high on both ends of the spectrum. In my
family, we are open with our feelings; we never hide them. It is how we
approached Dad’s dementia and death, and it is how we will face the holidays.
For months now, I have been dreading the holidays. The
closer they got, the tenser I felt. But now, with Thanksgiving just one week
away, I have a sense of excitement the way I normally do.
For one thing, it’s hard not to when you have a 5-year-old. My daughter loves this time of year, and I love watching her enjoy it.
And, now that I know my father will be part of our celebrations, I’m ready to