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Holidays are Hard

Mother’s Day has always been a hard day for me.  In We Lost Her, the book I recently authored about my Mom’s traumatic death in 1970, I describe my feelings about that special holiday without her in this way:

“Mother’s Days have always been the hardest.  Even once we had our two precious children and everything in the world to be grateful for, I’d long for her on that day.  Even once my mother-in-law Doris (I married that cute boy from High School World History class, Bill Krohne, in 1976) became my Mom in every way, I still felt this hole in my heart.  Especially on Mother’s Day. I always will.”

I was thinking that, perhaps, this year’s Mother’s Day would be easier.  I’d spent a lot of time working through unresolved grief in the last year, as I wrote her book, did book signings and speaking engagements about the book.  But I was wrong again, dear reader.

This year was harder than ever.

Probably because we lost our nephew, Luke, in December and I just couldn’t keep my sister, Betty, out of my thoughts.  My worst nightmare happened to her, losing a child.


We were in Chicago on Mother’s Day, so I wasn’t there for her.  Which I regret, I should have been near her for her first Mother’s Day without him. But, Betty is very strong and deals with her grief in a different way than I do.  The way that works for her.  Each of us grieves in our own, unique way and for her, it’s to keep busy and trust in the Lord, knowing life’s wonders, as well as its tragedies, are part of God’s plan for her.  I prayed for strength for her.

Holidays are just hard.  Especially the first one after your loved one dies.  Special days sometimes start the grief process all over, at least for a period.  The holiday may be filled with crying and pain.  What I now know is called a “grief burst.”  A grief burst is just that… a burst of sadness and sorrow triggered by the sight of something, a song, something you read, or by a memory.  Holidays are prime times for grief bursts. And these behaviors are perfectly normal, part of the grieving process.

The two hardest holidays seem to be Mother’s Day and the Christmas holiday season, but any that was special to you and your loved one can be a trigger.

So, how do you get through a hard holiday?

Often, we think we should honor past traditions and do what we’d have done if they hadn’t died.  Heartlinks Grief Center suggests creating a new tradition.  Do something different than your past traditions dictate.  While it’s important to honor, celebrate and remember your loved one, it’s also important to plan and take those actions that will help you to take steps forward along the path of your grief journey.

If you always hosted a meal at home for Mother’s Day, go out for brunch instead.  Surround yourself with those that encourage and uplift you.  Or spend the day at home planting flowers, go to the movies or some other favorite activity that you and your loved one shared.  Whatever you choose, taking initiative to create new traditions to honor your loved one will help you move forward.

Allow yourself a grief burst.  It’s Ok.  Remember to be kind to yourself.

Holidays are hard.

Be Blessed,


“We Grow Stronger Together”

Ellen Krohne, author, We Lost Her, available on

One Reply to “Holidays are Hard”

  1. I really like reading your blogs. Fortunately I haven’t experienced grief for a family member but I know it’s coming. By reading your book and blogs, it’s like you are preparing me. I’m sorry for your losses but I’m glad you are sharing.
    Love you, friend!!

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