A Holiday is a Holiday is a Holiday

It all started when I spent one Fourth of July holiday alone. I remember thinking; “I’m sure everyone had great plans for today.” I imagined they were at cook outs, parades, firework displays, pools – anywhere that included other people and fun. But, when I spoke with my friend the next day, it turned out she didn’t have any plans either. We each assumed the other had plans.

We never asked the question, “What are you doing for the holiday?”

With Memorial Day right around the corner it reminds me of the statement my bestie and I say all the time now, “A holiday is a holiday is a holiday. “

Maybe I didn’t want to find out that she was invited somewhere and I wasn’t.  

Maybe I wanted to be left alone to grieve, or have a pity party because I was all alone. And yet, even if I wanted to have a pity party it would not have been good or healthy for me.

The fact of the matter was, I assumed everyone had plans and I wasn’t included.

A few years earlier, we both experienced losses in our lives of someone close to us. While my loss was different from hers, it was loss nonetheless.

When my fiancé passed away unexpectedly, I found the summer holidays were more difficult to get through.

People seemed to make a point of reaching out to me for the “big” holidays.

You know, Christmas, New Years, Easter, and Thanksgiving.  Holidays tend to magnify what you don’t have. And there are so many messages reminding us; “Don’t forget those who are suffering a loss this season.”

But when it comes to the smaller, non-federal holidays, we are not always as intentional to think about including other people. And when you are alone or going through pain, well, “a holiday is a holiday is a holiday”. 

The holidays in the summer, when people are having fun and playing made my loss and pain much more obvious because I wasn’t doing any of that. It turns out my friend was feeling the same way.

Once we discovered that we both spent the day alone and miserable, we made a pact that we would never assume the other one has plans.  To this day, it doesn’t matter what holiday it is, we will celebrate it.  It doesn’t matter if it is Columbus Day (nothing against old Chris) but we do like to celebrate.

So, when a holiday comes up, do you always have something planned?

Maybe you have traditions you honor or maybe you have a lot of people in your life and the holidays are a way to get together and have fun.

Or, are you the one that is home alone thinking that everyone else is having all the fun and you don’t get invited anywhere? You may be new to an area and don’t know a lot of people yet.

You may be like I was, experiencing a loss and not sure if you really wanted to be around anyone but then regret it when you are not.

Here’s my challenge:

If you are in that first group take a look at the people in your life, don’t assume everyone has plans. Ask people what they are doing, invite them to your event. You have no idea what someone is dealing with and you may just be handing them a life line.

If you are in the second group, people are not mind readers. Be brave, let people know that this is a difficult time and you will be alone. Or if you don’t know anyone yet because you are new, get plugged in somewhere. You can do it.

Here’s my encouragement:

No matter where you find yourself, “a holiday is a holiday is a holiday” so take the steps that will help you to spend it the way you want.