The calendar tells us that a festive season is approaching, and the radio croons about days being merry and bright, but for those who’ve lost a loved one, grief doesn’t take a holiday. In fact, this can be the hardest time of year, as memories of shared holidays underscore your sadness, making it difficult to enjoy the present. We encourage you to take steps to lessen your pain so that you can find joy in the holiday season.
- Acknowledge your sadness. Be aware that the holidays will be difficult for a few years after your loss, and make a plan to cope.
- Take care of yourself. Grief is draining, so take care of yourself physically. Be good to yourself emotionally, too, and don’t feel obligated to accept invitations that will create stress or bring pain.
- Honor your loved one. Light a candle, attend a service of remembrance, or create a space for people to share special memories. Moving past grief doesn’t mean forgetting, and it’s important to take some time to remember.
- Express your feelings. Talk to someone, journal, or write a letter to the one you’ve lost. You might want to experiment with painting, sculpting, singing, or another art form that allows freedom of expression, and helps you work through your loss.
- Reach out to others. The holidays are a wonderful time to help others, in honor of your loved one. Donate to his or her favorite charity, buy a gift and donate it, or “adopt” a needy person or family to make their holidays brighter. Sometimes, it helps to turn the focus outward and do something to help someone else.
- Create something new. Don’t try to recreate past holidays, instead of building new traditions that will help bring back a sense of joy and celebration.
- Accept help. Your friends and family want to be there for you, so be communicative about what you need. If you need something more, don’t hesitate to seek professional care.
If you’re having difficulty coping with grief, we are here to help. The Center for Hope & Healing offers resources to help you deal with your loss because we understand how important it is for you to honor your loved one’s memory by moving past sadness and back into life. Call 636-328-0878 for support, or to learn more about all we have to offer.