Remember All That Matters to You This Holiday Season

Flickr Creative Commons | kayte terry

I will be the first to admit that I love the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. I’m a multitasker, I like to entertain, and my birthday is in December. Last week I was in England at the Marks & Spencer department store (my favorite place to shop when I go to the U.K.) and it was Friday afternoon. You’d think it was just a few days before Christmas the way people were snapping up items in the holiday section of the store. Christmas music played and outside a steady rain fell. It really felt like December.

But I’m aware that this holiday season will not be the same for me. I am familiar with this road­ – because my dad and my sister died previously. This will be the first holiday season I will travel through without my mom. While I am getting ready for a big party at my house next week to celebrate my engagement, one that will include a slew of cookies and Christmas decorations, I’m not totally caught up in the fun to forget that Mom isn’t physically here with me anymore.

Friday I will have to decorate the tree myself – her task the last few years she lived with me. And this weekend I will need to make her spritz cookies if I want to serve them at the party because she isn’t here to make them as she traditionally did. But mostly it’s the absence of someone in my life. There is one less person to buy gifts for, one less person to wish a merry Christmas and one less person to share my life with.

And yet I’m not alone in this. People all across the world are embarking on their first holiday season without a loved one, just as I am. And some others are about to go through the holidays after a relationship has ended, something I have experienced as well.

For those of you who are on this road, please know that I’m thinking of you and sending you positive energy. While I can’t take away your tears, and they are necessary to the processing of loss, what I can do is hope that somewhere in there you find just a little bit of hope. Keep that hope burning inside you and let it grow.

Life is short; remember all that matters to you. There is much more than you realize.


Michelle Rusk (Linn-Gust), Ph.D., inspires people to have meaningful and authentic lives. Whether she is discussing the 20 years she has spent working with the suicide bereaved, the lessons that running cross country and track taught her about life, or how learning to surf at 39 was a dream come true, Michelle is about making the most of life transitions and personal growth. She has written nine books, including three novels. She presents inspiring workshops, teaching people to set goals and cope with life situations, and works with people worldwide through her life coaching practice. Learn more about Michelle at

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