This winter is highly unusual for many of us because of the pandemic. The holidays are often a trauma trigger in any case, beyond the simple stress of preparing the celebrations. For example, some people have bad memories of spending holidays with abusive people, while others have to deal with the grief of experiencing their first holiday without a deceased loved one. This winter, so many people are spending their holidays sick or without those who have died from COVID-19.
One of my friends used to make and boost threads about being kind to yourself around the holidays, geared towards those for whom the season is a grief/trauma anniversary. This year, my grandfather died. Later this year, that friend died. Every time I think of all the people who didn't survive 2020, I think of them and how fucking unfair that feels. In 2020, we weren't able to hold a funeral for my grandfather. The social rituals around death, designed to help us deal with it, have been disrupted.
Distance is also another separating factor. I haven't seen or talked to many of my friends, or my childhood cat, or even immediate blood relatives all that often. I miss my friends!
I particularly miss my friend who died this year. I want to throw things and rage against the dying of the light. At the same time, I am happily celebrating, alone, with my cats, and grateful to be here. The juxtaposition of these two emotional states feels surreal.
Since my friend isn't around anymore, maybe this post can work as your reminder to be kind to yourself this time of year.