The First Holidays After a Loss

by Elle Fagan

All over the world, celebrations fill our hearts with delight in life, with new lights and powers for the times ahead as we commemorate times past. All of it is endangered when we are grieving. But the holidays can be a fine opportunity to heal and create happy beginnings to the new paths in the life ahead.

My husband passed suddenly and too young in late summer, and the family times, formerly so rich with love and laughter, were now painful. Son, Peter, was thirteen and his Sister, Amy, was eleven.

Now it was time to plan for the Winter Holidays. “I am pretty sure we cannot do this” I realized.
But maybe something, just this once. A small trip for the three of us and my Mother might be just the thing!

The lovely drive to the famous old inn in the mountains was a treat in itself with the lovely foliage glowing all around us and the lake. The inn sported two grand pups who charmed. And PacMan – popular then. We ran all over the mountain, and did some horseback riding as well. There was a lovely healing feeling from the air full of all the harvest time smells. On Thanksgiving Day, all the guests befriended one another for the ball games in the lounge and the Bounty of the Holiday Dinner.

We’d done it right – broke free from the Estate resolutions paperwork and the counselors and friends and neighbors and were just us – a new team. “We three” could be maybe a pretty cool trio for a bit, we guessed. The trip really helped us to recreate confidence and progress. Mother along with us, sometimes, made it much nicer too.

By Christmas, we were ready to enjoy the holiday at home, among our favorite decorations and traditions, and happy memories, including the Strawberry top that won a special place with us at every Christmas season startup.

My Daughter looked at me with uncertain eyes this time though, as her brother joined us at the counter, and we recalled the many years with their Father’s laughter, taking his turn at spinning that merry little top.

We fumbled a bit with the memory but then gave it a spin and off it went, spinning round and round, bright red/pink and green! We cried but our laughter was triumphant, too! “The Strawberry top still spins!” We are going to be just fine!

There is the realization of new life and new paths lighted by the good lights of times past that cannot dim. However, your inspiration leads you as you seek and find new ways to do it. May your Holidays Spin as merrily as ours did once again, after loss.

About the Author: Elle Fagan was born in Fairfield, Connecticut. She married her sweetheart, Vincent “Peter” Fagan, Jr. in 1966. Peter died suddenly from Berry’s Intracranial Aneurysm at age 39 in 1981. Since widowhood, Elle, an artist, shows her work worldwide and is a new member of the Watercolor Society. She has volunteered with the Red Cross during Operation Desert Storm as well as local response and rescue. Elle donates some of her prize-winning art to help good causes. She resides in Vernon, Connecticut with her studio on the waterfalls at Fox Hill. She has two children, Peter John and Amy. You may visit Elle at her website ellefagan.com.