Grief for the Holidays

Grief for the Holidays

You are facing the holidays and someone you love will be missing from the holiday table because they have died. Holidays are often difficult for anyone who has experienced a loss. You are not alone. Rather than times of feeling joy, togetherness, sharing, and thanksgiving, holidays can bring feelings of sadness, loss and emptiness. Many people find that their anticipation of the holiday season is worse than the days themselves. Try to take charge of the holidays rather that letting them take charge of you. The following are some suggestions that may help: Talk about your grief. During the holiday season, don’t be afraid to express your feelings of grief. Ignoring your grief won’t make the pain go away and talking about it openly often makes you feel better. Family and friends don’t know what to do, so they sometimes not mention your loved one for fear of upsetting you. They may not realize that you are already thinking about the loved one many times a day. Break the ice by mentioning the loved one first. Identify caring friends and relatives who will allow you to speak openly about your feelings. Find those persons who encourage you to be yourself and accept your feelings, both happy and sad. Eliminate unnecessary stress. You may already feel stressed so don’t overextend yourself. Avoid isolating yourself, but be sure to recognize the need to have special time for yourself. Realize also that merely “keeping busy” won’t distract you from your grief. Experience suggests that it only increases stress and postpones the need to talk out feelings related to your grief. Mention the name of the loved one who died and relive fond memories. Include the person’s name in your holiday conversations, talking about special memories of past holidays, realizing that you can hold these memories in your heart forever. Think of them and allow yourself to smile. If you are able to talk candidly, other people are more likely to recognize your need to remember that special person who was an important part of your life. Do what is right for you during the holidays. Well meaning friends and family often try to prescribe what is good for you during the holidays. Discuss your wishes with a caring, trusted friend. You may want to change traditions this year or consider going out of town for a change of scenery. Talking about these wishes will help you to clarify what it is you want to do. Balance solitude with sociability. Solitude and rest can renew strength. Being with people you love can help you feel less lonely, especially if they accept you as you are and do not tell how they think you...

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