Throughout the holiday season and into the new year, the phrase "Happy Holidays" is tossed around like tinsel on a Christmas tree. But if you've lost someone you love recently, the holidays can be hard to bear — especially if you have little ones. If that's the case, you've likely been wondering how to explain why a family member is no longer around for the holidays. Because the reality is that children are very perceptive, and they can sense these losses too. Particularly around the holidays, when so many traditions are wrapped up in family. When one person ceases to be in the picture, it changes the perspective for everyone.
Last year, my grandmother passed away. She was the matriarch of the family we all shaped our holidays around, and my then 4-year-old daughter was extremely close to her. Coming into Thanksgiving and Christmas — holidays which we always spent with my grandmother — my daughter kept asking when we were heading to "GiGi's" house. It's a brutal thing to grieve the loss of someone who meant so much to you while also grieving for your child's loss on top of that.
Ultimately, I was still deep in my own grief when we had those hard conversations with my daughter, and I'm not sure we did justice by them. In researching, however, advice from experts on how to broach why a family member is no longer around emerged. Here are a few of the suggested approaches you can take to address complicated shifts in your family dynamics this holiday season.