There is no correct “how to” on grieving during the holidays. This can be a difficult time, even more so if the loss is very recent. The pain of losing a loved one is immeasurable. Every first holiday, birthday, or special occasion without them opens up the wound all over again. All the festivities remind us of their absence and magnify the pain.
How To Cope With Loss During The Holidays
Can I cope without you here? The first step you must take in order to cope with the holiday season, is accepting that it will be difficult, then prepare for it by planning in advance. Anticipating, and dreading the pain can be worse than actually dealing with it. Here are some tips for coping with grief during the holidays:
- Acknowledge that it will be different and difficult to deal with. Set realistic expectations. If you feel it will be too difficult, it’s OK to cancel celebrations. The holidays will be here again next year.
- If you decide to continue with celebrating, you may consider cutting back on decorations and activities. Just keep it simple and intimate.
- Plan ahead and communicate with the people you will be spending the holidays with to agree on what those plans are.
- You’re allowed to turn down party invitations if you’re not up for it. You don’t have to please everyone.
- Speaking of party invitations; if you do decide to go, have an escape plan if it gets too overbearing.
- Avoid alcohol to numb the pain. Sometimes it makes it worse.
More Ways To Cope
- Allow the feelings to flow, be it joy, sadness, or even anger. Also, recognize that everyone has their own way of dealing with grief. If someone is laughing and appears happy, it does not mean they are not missing their loved one. There is no right or wrong way to grieve.
- If you’re having difficulty parting with your loved one’s clothing, this may be a good time to donate to a charity. Giving in their honor can help with the healing process.
- You can choose to continue the same traditions you had in the past, such as food, music, and games, or you can start new ones.
- Light a candle and have a moment of silence.
- Create a memory box or Christmas stocking. Have everyone write a note with a favorite or funny moment they shared. Pick a time to sit together and everyone gets a chance to read a story they pick out from the stocking. You can save them for next Christmas and keep adding stories. This way as the family grows, future generations can also “get to know” your loved one.
Does It Really Get Better With Time?
In conclusion, I don’t believe it gets better with time. Instead, we learn to adapt to the fact that although our dearly departed is no longer with us physically, they will live forever in our hearts and memories. Please comment below and share ideas on how to survive the holidays in your time of pain. Also, share on social media to help those dealing with the pain of a loss. Sending love and healing energy to all!
To my siblings: