The Holiday Season can be rough if you or someone you know is suffering the recent loss of a loved one or something that is important to them. Getting through the holidays will take some loving care and compassion for yourself or give understanding towards others you may know.
Although the stages of grief following a loss are fairly universal, it can express itself in different ways. There is no right or wrong way to grieve any kind of loss. Each person is unique and will deal with it in any array of emotions.
When I was suffering from the loss of someone who was a big part of my life, I would be talking to a friend and suddenly burst into tears. At other times, I felt depressed, with little energy. Allow yourself the room and grace to grieve however you need to. It is a process.
I would like to share some ways that might help you during this season where everything seems to be the opposite of what you are going through inside.
These are adapted from the Harvard Mental Health Letter.
Express Your needs. If you are not up to attending a Christmas Party put on by Aunt Sara every year, just let her know you are going to stay home this year. Join in when you can. Others should understand.
Start a new tradition. You can place a lit candle on the dinner table, leave an empty chair, or have someone say a few words of remembrance. Purchase a special ornament in the persons honor to place on the tree.
Change the celebration. If you normally do a huge Christmas Eve Party, maybe pass the baton on to another family member or you can go to a restaurant, to ease the transition time of home celebrations.
Volunteer or help someone else. Make a donation to a favorite cause or charity in memory of the person who you lost or serve meals at a local shelter.
Give yourself the gift of time. The grieving process does not necessarily conclude at a six month or one year mark. There can be comfort in different places at different times. People who love you can be your support and strength during the difficult moments. Grief does usually soften and change and with some time the holidays will become easier to handle.
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Contact your Pastor, Counselor or join a support group during this time if you need to. They can help you navigate and get through this tender season.