Posts from December 2019

During Grief Awareness Week we posted the quote "Say their name: - I'm thinking about them anyway." This is particularly applicable to holiday gatherings with family. 
Many times well-meaning loved ones hesitate to mention a person who is missing because they fear upsetting someone. The loss soon becomes the "elephant in the room". This is true not only for the first Christmas after a loss, but for all of the holidays that follow for years to come. 
memories at Christmas
As grievers we tend to isolate ourselves because we quickly learn that many people aren’t “safe” to talk to. They try to fix us or make inane remarks that might be intellectually true but are emotionally useless. Nevertheless, isolation impedes recovery. We need others around us to share our thoughts and feelings with and – yes – to share new experiences that can become new happy memories. 
bereavement at Christmas
Do you grieve around the holidays even though you haven't experienced the death of someone close? 
Grief is the normal and natural response to a loss of any kind. The holidays without our loved ones can be heartbreaking because certain traditions, scents, music and objects remind us of their death. Their absence is painfully obvious. However holidays can also be very difficult for people who do not have a family to celebrate with for other reasons. 
alone on Christmas
Our tip of the day for dealing with grief at the holidays: Reach out for support. 
This may or may not be your first Christmas without your mom/dad/brother/daughter, but if you are struggling with the pain, it may very well be the right time to reach out for help. Perhaps you’ve been wanting to speak to someone for some time now and have been putting it off. Instead of waiting, you CAN start to work on the recovery process. It may be just the boost you need to get through another year of holidays, and it will let you start the new year off on the right foot. When memories of Christmases past turn painful, it is a sign that there are still things that are incomplete with the relationship that has ended. Seeking out support may be the best Christmas present you could possibly give yourself. 
grief, bereavement
Our previous two tips included having a plan for the holidays and possibly including a new tradition this year. Unfortunately, making plans without the loved ones we're missing often means there is some guilt involved. We either feel guilty for celebrating in the first place, or we feel guilt around the fact that we're not able to celebrate the way our family and friends may want us to - and sometimes all of the above. 
Grief is unique to every individual and every relationship. If you’ve given some thought to the way you would like to celebrate this year – whether it’s with the bare minimum of decorations and presents, new traditions or with the same traditions as every year, there’s no need to feel guilt about your choices. 
grief, bereavement
Yesterday we recommended having a plan for the days leading up to Christmas and New Years and of course for the holidays themselves. 
If you have a conversation with your family and make a plan for the holiday, consider adding a new tradition or two. This can be something to look forward to, or something that is focussed around the loved one you are missing. You may, for example, play their favourite board game, tell their favourite stories, light a special candle and listen to a particular song, go for a long walk together, watch a certain film, the sky is the limit. You may also choose an activity that isn’t at all related to the holiday. 
grief, bereavement
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. 
grief, bereavement
Whether it’s your first Christmas without a certain person or your fifth, whether you’ve experienced a significant loss in the past year or are sad to be spending the holidays alone – so many of us struggle at this time of year because our memories turn painful, certain songs or decorations trigger emotional reactions or we’re heartbroken that our relationships are not the way we wish they could be. 
Many of us find it difficult to enjoy the holidays. What makes things all the more challenging is that we're expected to be in good spirits all of the time and that we see everyone else enjoying their holidays and thinking we should be able to do the same. 
grief, bereavement
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