Grief and the Holidays
Grieving the loss of a loved one is a deep and difficult challenge at any time. But the holiday season can magnify your sense of loss and mourning. Family gatherings and seasonal events can be painful reminders of the absence of a loved one. Here are some important things keep in mind.
Be kind to yourself. Honoring yourself, your needs, and your feelings may be all you can manage right now. Do only as much as you can. Choose what’s best for you: to celebrate or not.
Ask for what you need. Speak up! Others don’t know what to say or do unless you tell them what would help you most. Let it be known if you need companionship or if you want a shoulder to cry on.
Do something new and different. Often the more we try to recreate the past, the more obvious is our loss. Changing traditions can be freeing and satisfying.
Appreciate your loved ones. It is natural to isolate yourself and feel alone in your grief but don’t deprive your children, spouse or other loved ones of your presence. They need your love too. In return, their love can nourish you and help you begin to heal.
Avoid the holidays. If celebrating seems too difficult, then you can choose to minimize the holidays. Get away somewhere. If you cannot afford to travel, then change the scenery; go to the zoo, or to the movies or some other distracting place. This may not erase your pain, it may lessen it some.
It’s okay to have a good time. While, grieving, we often feel guilty about having fun. Don’t deny yourself life because someone has died. If you can, enjoy the holidays. Death teaches us that every day of life is precious. The best gift we can ourselves is to live wholeheartedly.
You will make it! As hard as it is for you right now, you will survive. You will make it through the holidays in one piece. It may be the most difficult season in your time of grief, but it will pass. And when it does, you will come out on the other side stronger than before.
Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
REMEMBER: “It’s okay not to be okay.” Grief is a journey, we all embrace grief in our own way, in our own timing. Just know we care and we are here for you.