Ways to externalize the loss – give it a time and a place
- A prayer before the Holiday dinner, about your loved one.
- Light a candle for your loved one.
- Have everyone share a favorite or funny story about your loved one.
- Remember them in prayer at your place of worship.
- Chat online about them.
Ways to Cope
Plan A can be as simple as going to the Christmas Day or Christmas Eve dinner with family and friends. If this just doesn’t feel right, have your plan B ready. Plan B may be going to see a movie you both liked, looking through a photo album, or visiting a special place you went to together. Many people find that when they have Plan B in place, just knowing that it is there is enough.
Cancel the Holiday celebration all together
Yes, you can cancel celebrating the Holiday. If you feel as though it is too soon or just too much to handle, you have every right to cancel the celebration and take that year off. The time will soon come around again. For some, staying involved with the Holidays is a symbol of life continuing. Let the Holiday routine give you a framework during these tough times.
Try the Holidays in a new way
Grief has a unique way of giving us the permission to really evaluate what parts of the Holidays you enjoy and what parts you don’t. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to handle the Holidays in grief. You have to decide what is right for you and do it. You have every right to change your mind, even a few times. Friends and family members may not have a clue how to help you through the Holidays and you may not either.
It is very natural to feel you may never enjoy the Holidays again. They will certainly never be the same as they were. However, in time, most people are able to find meaning again in the traditions as a new form of the Holiday Spirit grows inside of them.
Dos and Don’ts
- Do be gentle with yourself and protect yourself.
- Don’t do more than you want, and don’t do anything that does not serve your soul and your loss.
- Don’t keep feelings bottled up. If you have 500 tears to cry, don’t stop at 250.
- Don’t ask if you can help or should help a friend in grief. Just help. Find ways; invite them to group events or just out for coffee.
- Do allow others to help. We all need help at certain times in our lives.
- Do allow time for the feelings.
- Do, in grief, pay extra attention to the children. Children are too often the forgotten grievers.
Information provided by: M. Crawley, www.grief.com, www.whatsyourgrief.com