Mothering Through Grief During The Holidays

Mothering Through Grief During The HolidaysMothering Through Grief During The Holidays

As the holiday season approaches, I feel a sense of dread come over me. Seeing all of the Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations fill the store shelves is not giving me the same excitement that it has in the past. And instead of excitement about Christmas, I feel anxiety. This year is different. You see, my mom passed away earlier this year so this will be my first holiday season without her.

Grief is funny because I didn’t always spend the holidays with my mom, so that’s not really what has me feeling down. In fact, since I moved away from my hometown and started my own family, we often choose to make memories in our own home instead of visiting. But even though we weren’t always together, my mom was the inspiration behind every holiday decision I made.

My mom made the season so magical.

Growing up in South Carolina, my mom made every holiday so special. I remember us making homemade Halloween costumes together with random items found around the house and helping her make her famous potato salad before heading to my grandma’s house where our entire extended family gathered for Thanksgiving dinner.

And Christmas was the absolute best! From decorating the house to K-mart “blue-light special” shopping sprees, to binge-watching all of the classic Christmas movies together, my mom made the season so magical, that I could only hope to give my own children a similar experience. Every year I strive to give my girls what she gave me – Mothering Through Grief During The Holidaysnot the toys that I received, although that was the icing on the cake! – but the memories that we made.

My mom’s magical Christmas is the reason why I prefer to spend Christmas in my own home. As a child, I never spent a Christmas away from home, and for me, that was a part of the magic! Mom filled our home with the Christmas spirit, and I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.

Mothering through grief during the Holidays feels like you’re at a standstill while the world around you keeps on moving along.

Mothering Through Grief During The Holidays

Now that my mom is gone, a huge part of why I loved the holidays is gone too. But the show must go on. Mothering through grief during the Holidays feels like you’re at a standstill while the world around you keeps on moving along. I wish I could pause time but ready or not the holidays are approaching.

Mothering Through Grief During The Holidays

Now that I’m a mom, I often think about how my mom experienced motherhood. Was she ever sad, lonely or depressed? I’m sure she had moments like this but as a child, I never knew. She kept a smile on her face and gave me her best. She made life fun, and I always look back on my childhood with fondness.

To get through this holiday season and this season of grief in my life, I will once again take a page out of my mom’s inspirational book of magic. Of course, I will cry and feel sad at times, but I will also put a smile on my face and give my children my best.

Mothering Through Grief During The Holidays

It’s what she would have done and what she would have encouraged me to do.


Samii Kennedy Benson
Dr. Samii Kennedy Benson is Originally from Columbia, South Carolina. She was a nomad for many years living in Atlanta, Charlotte, and Baltimore before accepting a professorship at Southern University and taking root in Zachary, LA with her family in 2018. Samii is married to her electrician husband DeQugan and together they have three girls: her bonus daughter Jordan (17), Honour (12) and Streeter (3). Samii holds three degrees, a BS in Family and Consumer Sciences Education (formerly Home Economics) from the HBCU, SC State University, a MS in Textiles, Merchandising and Interiors from UGA and a PhD. in Apparel Merchandising and Design from Iowa State. When she is not teaching, thinking about, or trying on the latest fashions, she enjoys traveling, family time, and DIY-ing. A perfect day for Samii would include a Mardi Gras parade – bonus points if she’s rolling with her krewe, the Mystic Krewe of Femme Fatale - a Target run, Tex-Mex and Margaritas!


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