By: Sylvie Griffiths, MBA

The holidays bring up all kinds of emotions for us.

I woke up this morning feeling panicked. I have a lot to do this week related to Thanksgiving; shopping, cleaning, organizing, and cooking await me. I love holidays. I love entertaining. And I love doing for others, but this year is already different.

A week ago, my mom died from aggressive, incurable bone cancer. Like any family, our relationship definitely had it’s up and downs. Her diagnosis happened in early June and passed away on November 11. To think of all that happened, you would think she’d been fighting cancer for years; she had multiple weekly treatments, doctor’s visits sometimes daily, and many unfortunate hospitalizations. She was diagnosed and was gone within five months.

My mother usually spent Thanksgiving with my Grandma; her mother. She would visit for Hanukkah and other events like the kid’s birthdays, but the last few years she focused on Grandma who does not leave her assisted living facility anymore. My mom’s siblings both live in other states, and she always saw my Grandmother weekly, but they talked on the phone daily. We understood and respected her time allotted for Grandma, but her absence this year is so different.

As I have made my holiday shopping lists and planned gatherings and meals for the upcoming days, I have had to remind myself not to count my mom. I once had a friend say that she could not imagine her life without her own mother around; at the time this did not resonate with me as it does today. I think once a day in the last week I have “forgotten” that mom is gone. I also think once a day in the previous week I have thought of nothing but the fact that she is gone.

My kids are adjusting to life without a grandmother. She was always called “Amma” because my oldest daughter could not enunciate “Grandma” as a toddler and the name stuck. As much as I want to hide in my room and stay in bed, my kids really need this holiday season to be fantastic. The last five months have been a nightmare, so I have to remind myself how much joy these traditions bring us all.

Last week, a nurse at the hospice center where mom’s battle ended, commented on how much I look like my mom. Because of our family’s general idea that I looked like my dad and my sister looked like her; this had never crossed my mind. When I got out a photo of mom in her late 20s, my kids commented on how much we look alike. We put the photo in the front room, so everyone who shares the holidays with us this year sees this beautiful picture.


About Sylvie Griffiths:

Sylvie is a happily married mother of four who enjoys writing, people and chocolate.

She is an Evaluation Associate and has a Master’s in Business Administration from Springfield College. She holds more than ten years of experience in performance assessment and behavioral health services.