Grief at the Holidays: Tip 2
Posted on 17th December 2019 at 10:52
Today's tip for handling your grief during the holidays: Have a Plan.
Chances are that the days leading up to Christmas are just as difficult as the actual day, so it helps if you have a plan as soon as possible.
Putting your head down and hoping to wake up in mid January sadly isn’t going to work. Rather than trying to ignore your fears, sit down with your family and discuss what will happen. They have probably been thinking about the holiday too and will find it a relief to have you initiate the conversation.
You may decide that you wish to keep all of your usual traditions or you may decide that you will be doing less than in previous years. It may be difficult to agree on everything and compromises will need to be made. But having this discussion will make it easier for you to decide which traditions to keep and which ones to skip this year – and everyone will know what to expect. If there is a specific tradition that some definitely want to keep and others can't imagine doing, make arrangements for that to work. For example if some would not like to sing carols because it's too upsetting, perhaps this is scheduled for a time where one group can sing at home and the other group can see a film or take a walk together outside. It may sound like hard work, but it is better to take action now than waiting for the big day to arrive and keeping your fingers crossed that things will go well.
If you have children include them in making the plans. Be honest when talking to them – express how sad you are that Mum/Dad/Grandma/Uncle won’t be there and that it’s going to be very different this year. Ask them what they would like to do to acknowledge how much they miss them and also what they want to keep or change about your family traditions. If there is something that is very special to you that you want to do or not do, explain this too. Your feelings are equally important as theirs.
It is essential that you are honest with them. We teach our children to always tell the truth so when we attempt to cover up our feelings and put on a brave face our body language gives us away and they get confused.
Even small children can sense when something is being kept from them. However, you need to be cautious. Being honest doesn’t mean that you should turn your children into your carer or surrogate spouse. So even though you can be honest, you need to gently discourage them from taking care of you. Yes, it’s a little challenging to do both, but you’ll be able to know how to do that.
With a well designed plan, your family may even be able to look forward to certain parts of the holiday and know that they will not be expected to participate in the aspects that make them too uncomfortable. Instead of waiting for the special day with dread, you can take comfort in knowing what to expect and even enjoy.
Tagged as: Holidays & Anniversaries
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