Following. My father died a few months, and it's already awful, just making plans for the holidays. My parents were married for more than 50 years, so I don't even want to imagine the holidays yet.
There have been so many sudden deaths of children in the news lately, the hit and runs at bus stops and other violent deaths, that I looked up how people can possibly cope with the loss of a child. The article was good, and said that one shouldn't expect oneself to "get over" it, but more just to work out how to keep on living, and that dealing with such a loss is the toughest fight a parent might ever have to fight. I could see that. I don't think I would survive the loss of my son, myself.
When my father-in-law died a month before Christmas, we hunkered in and mostly didn't have a Christmas that year. The next year, my mother-in-law sent out holiday cards that included a note saying he had passed away when he did, but that she just hadn't had the heart to send out cards or do anything Christmasy. I thought that was a true way to handle it. A person handling a loss can only do what it is emotionally possible to do.
It probably IS really individual. When my mom passed, all the holidays that were the first one since her passing stung. It was really hard on my sister and I. We spent that first year doing things differently than our typical traditions we had with my mom. We planned trips or ate out when we normally would have had a sit down meal at home. We made each holiday and Thanksgiving and Christmas included very different than our norm and it distracted us. The strategy worked for us. By the next time around, the second this or that . . . we were ready to face our holiday traditions without the integral part of our mom being there.
Getting over a child is something I also can't imagine. And losing a parent is similar in some regards because let's face it, it forces us to no longer being 'someone's kid'.
My in law family takes a totally different stance on it. I kid you not, at the family Christmas celebration, a sister in law brought my mother in law's Christmas sweater worn by her for years (she'd passed in November) and they hung it over a chair. Awkward for me but it made them feel better.