The loss of a loved one is described in many different ways. Over the years I have heard it described as peaceful, traumatic, humbling and loving. I would describe it as feeling knocked off of your feet. The one thing about loss that ties it all together is that it feels like the world has been turned upside down and nothing seems to make sense anymore.

Never more do we feel this topsy-turvy feeling after loss than we do during the holidays. While everyone is happy and celebrating the season the bereaved are feeling sad, confused, and even angry. The way things have always been done may no longer apply. If mom always cooked Christmas dinner then what will we do now? If dad always dressed up as Santa then who will do that now? There is a sense that all control is lost and nothing makes sense.

If you find yourself connecting with these feelings I encourage you to find a ritual or series of rituals to help you through the season.

Rituals have been proven to help you regain a sense of control and diminish negative feelings after you feel that your world has been turned upside down. Rituals are actions or events that we perform after our loved one has died and we are seeking relief from our grief. They can be performed in a group, such as attending a Holiday Remembrance Program, or they can be done alone, such as lighting a candle in their honor.

However you choose to honor your loved one this season please think about the rituals that you already have in place and possibly new ones that might be helpful! Put them into place and notice how they help diminish your grief in the time following.

This season we put up the Christmas tree and one of our new rituals is to take turns putting up Papa’s ornament. This year my daughter did it and next year my son will. These are the rituals that bring us together in our pain.

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.