In the middle of December in 2015 I lost my best friend to suicide. The holidays were instantly a dreadful thought to me. I’ve never really had a good family life, so I’ve always made sure my friends knew that I treated them like family, especially during this time of year. She was my kindest friend, and always made sure I didn’t spend a single holiday alone. Knowing that I had a Christmas ahead of me where I had one less gift to give, one less person to spend the dark and wintery nights with chatting our time away, and a New Year’s to remind me of what was ahead, a life without them, there was simply no smiles or celebration this time around, just tears.
It’s taken a solid year just for me to really put on that smile again and feel the holiday cheer, what I’ve found in this long year is that it’s not really about what you’ve lost as much as it is about what you still have. In my loss, I found myself.
I’ve found that during the holidays, I love to make other people smile. This year with one less friend to give a gift to, I’ve found that I simply just have to give more of my time to my remaining friend’s happiness. Making every gift special is what has really done it for me this year, and I’m certainly excited for Christmas again. Anticipating and planning for all the smiles and happiness brought through gift giving fills me with purpose, because I never want my friends to go through such pain, especially during the holidays.
But it’s important to remember the holidays aren’t just about gifts, even if I find a ton of joy in it, the most important part will always be getting together and showing you care for one another.
In my best friend’s passing, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some of the wonderful people they knew, and even made plenty of new friends. In a way, it was my best friend’s final gift to me. This Christmas, those of us whom were lucky enough to be her friend are going to try to smile enough to make up for a year of sadness.
It might be impossible, deep down, but it really brings us peace. If there’s anything the holidays should represent, it’s peace. Never again do I want to go through such a painful loss during this time of the year, so if anything, to make sure my friends know how much I appreciate and cherish my time spent with them, that’s what matters the most to me.
For those out there with loved ones, I think that it’s important to remind yourself how much they matter to you every day, but it’s equally as important to let them know during the merriest time of year, that they matter to you as well. Whether it’s done through gifts, letting someone know how much they matter to you, or something equally as special, the magic of the holidays is the magic of love and togetherness. For myself, while it’s certainly a lot colder this time of year without my best friend’s warmth by my side, I’ve certainly found a place in my heart to inherit her will and spread the holiday cheer just a little more than usual, because it’s what will make the holidays still feel right to me.
It’s the least I can do to honor the memory of someone that meant the world to me.