Ask Mary: How Can I Get Through It?

Ask Mary: How Can I Get Through It?Question: It’s just me and the kids this Christmas and I don’t know how I’m going to get through it without breaking down. I would appreciate any advice you can give me.
 Answer: Going it alone can be tough at this time of the year. It’s crazy to pretend that everything’s the same when it’s not. Here are some tips to help you and your children survive the season without your loved one.
 Include children in any discussion about the holidays. It is a time of great insecurity for them and they need the security and support of the family. Let them know in advance that Christmas is still going to be celebrated and consult them before making major changes.
 Get them involved about an appropriate gift or donation in memory of a loved one. Make them part of the process. They may also like the idea of a special candle that would burn in memory of the one who has died. Let them buy it!
 Give the children a break from the family. If they want to spend part of their Christmas holidays with their friends, let them.
 Encourage children to talk about the one who has died. This can be a painful experience, but it can prove helpful in allowing them to express their feelings.
 Organize a simple treasure hunt with clues that eventually lead to a small gift hidden in the house. Make clues fun and simple, according to each child’s age and ability.
   Don’t try to keep everything the same. It isn’t and as sad as that fact is, it still has to be acknowledged.  Evaluate family traditions and discuss with the children what traditions they want to keep and what they want to change.

 Remember the spiritual side of Christmas. Most churches offer a variety of social events for families during the holidays.
 Get in the Spirit. If you can, go to their school Christmas programs and reread some of the great Christmas stories. Spend some time watching Christmas movies, especially the comedies. Go for a drive and admire the Christmas decorations.
 If you are facing Christmas alone for the first time, I encourage you to reach out to someone you trust and share your feelings with them.  Please email your questions to:

 Merry Christmas from my home to yours and I hope you find peace and joy with family and friends.