"Coping at Christmas and the Holiday Season"
Coping With Grief at Christmas
Just some words of advice... I was given this advice a long time back by my counsellor.. Take it for what it is worth.. The season will be hard enough for you without your loved one.. But believe it or not you will make it through it... It just feels right now you can't..
Holidays are a time for fellowship and friendship with those you love. However, for many bereaved families, it is also the time of year when they remember the ones in lives who have died. How one handles this grief depends on many factors:
Relationship to person who died
Time since loved one's passing
How many living family members and friends will join in holiday festivities
What stage of grief the bereaved person is in
Once these factors are identified, the bereaved can decide what would be best in dealing with grief at Christmas. There are many ways this can be done including honoring the loved one lost or creating new family traditions.
It's OK to be sad when you miss someone you love. It's only natural to feel the grief and heartache associated with being alone. When you start feeling overwhelmed by the holidays:
Spend some time alone, reading your bereavement cards or letters from others about the person who died
Go to the cemetery or other resting place
Write a letter to the person who died
Seek counseling if the grief is too overwhelming to handle alone
Share memories of the person with whoever will listen
Hold a Memorial Service
On Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, hold a special graveside memorial service honoring the person who died. This will give everyone a chance to connect with their feelings about the deceased person. Activities to include in the memorial service are:
Singing a few special holiday songs
Reading a few favorite Bible passages or poems
A photographic slide show at the Christmas celebration
Placing favorite flowers or grave blankets on the headstone
Have a special Mass or religious service held in the deceased person's memory
Create New Family Traditions
Grief at Christmas can be eased by changing family traditions that normally would make you sad. If it is a parent you grieve, then make your holiday festivities different than what they were when he or she was alive. Change the location of the celebration or just do things different if that is what you prefer. If it was a child who passed away, consider including him or her in your celebration:
Put up a stocking with the Loved Ones name on it
Add the Loved Ones name to Christmas cards in a way that makes you and your family feel comfortable
Place flowers or toys at the Loved Ones resting place
Make a toy donation in his or her name
Buy a special angel ornament to add to your tree
Take a Year Off
There is no rule that says you have to celebrate Christmas with your family and friends. If your grief is so fresh or overwhelming, take a year off. Spend the day watching your favorite movies alone if that is what you want to do. You don't have to put a Christmas tree or send out holiday cards. If anyone asks, tell them you needed some time for yourself this year and hope to be back into the festivities next year. Instead of celebrating, you can:
Volunteer at a food kitchen
Spend time at your favorite spot meditating or reflecting
Take a long walk
Spend time with an elderly neighbor or one who is alone on Christmas
Create your own support group and invite others over who are suffering through the same kind of loss.
A Final Thought
Christmas is exactly what you make of it. It can be a joyous time of year or it can leave you feeling sad and lonely. Remember, don't do anything that makes you uncomfortable -- you are the one grieving and need time to do that.
I wish you peace
Memory can only tell us what we were,
in the company of those we loved;
it cannot help us find what each of us, alone, must now become.
Yet no person is really alone;
those who live no more echo still within our thoughts and words,
and what they did has become woven into what we are.
I wish you peace and a level path on your journey...
Thank so much for posting this and it is just perfect for the days coming up. It is beautiful and touching...and very appropriate that you were the one to post it.
I will be thinking of everyone here on the forum and wishing you all peace and happiness.
Lost my mother December 22,2014
It helped to read your message, and you were right, I did survive. But this is so hard. I have lived with my beautiful mother for just over a year. I was her caretaker 24/7 during that period. I used to gripe and complain to my sisters about her refusing to wear her hearing aids or just other general cantankerous ways. Now I'd give my legs to have her back here with me. Life is ironic, here I thought it was she depending on me, now I realize, it was really me depending on her.
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