Remembering Loved Ones During the Holiday
We all know that grief is complicated and unpredictable. There is no correct way to feel or process sadness after experiencing loss. Grief problems are more associated with attempting to ignore or avoid pain from the absence of a loved one. Instead of pushing the anguish away, embrace it. Let yourself feel the loss.
This season, filled with happiness and family memories, don’t avoid talking about or welcoming your loss. Remembering loved ones during the holidays is essential for resolving issues with loss. By including loved ones, you find a way to cope with the sadness and look back on cherished memories with happiness. This season there are several ways you can remember your loved one.
Honor Their Memory the Way That Feels Right To You
Many people will have suggestions about how to honor a lost loved one. Do not feel obligated to remember someone in a way that doesn’t feel right to you. Loss is a personal journey. If you do not feel right participating in a memorial or other holiday ceremony for a loved one, don’t do it. Relatives and friends need to understand that your grief is yours, and you need to process it in a way that makes sense to you.
Play Social Gatherings By Ear
If your loved one passed only this year, social gatherings could feel strange and uncomfortable. Instead of committing to parties and other get-togethers, consider an open-ended engagement. Tell friends and family that you appreciate the invitation, but you cannot give a solid yes or no to the gathering. Most people will understand and happily leave space for you if you decide to come.
Use Pictures or Some Other Representation To Include
Some people will welcome the opportunity to see friends and family, but they feel strange attending gatherings without the decedent. Consider bringing a picture or watching some family movies together at the party to feel like the person still participated in the event. You can also set a place at the dinner table or light a candle for the absent person.
There is no shame in changing traditions. Sometimes the decedent played such a central role in holiday gatherings that merely participating does not feel right. If you feel like participating in traditional holiday activities is not something you can handle this year, consider creating a new tradition. For example, if your family always goes to a specific restaurant or location, think about changing things. Starting new traditions can be a great way to heal and move forward.
Include a Gift for Your Loved One
While you might be missing a person this holiday, that doesn’t mean you can’t get them a gift. Some people find the most challenging part of celebrating the holiday season without that special someone is not purchasing a gift for them. Instead of putting yourself through that heartache, you can donate to a favorite charity or something your loved one enjoyed while alive. While this is symbolic, it can help you through the gift buying hurdle of the season.
Take Care of Yourself
While remembering your loved one during the holidays is important, it is even more vital to take care of yourself. Sometimes spending time alone is just what the doctor ordered, but other times it is a small step away from seclusion and depression. Instead of trying to get through your grief alone, consider attending a grief support group. There is no shame in asking for help. Talking is an excellent tool for healing.
Grief is a complicated emotion, and while the journey toward healing is personal, it doesn’t have to be lonely. Know that you have people and loved ones who support you and only want what’s best for you, so remember your loved one the way that’s right for you, but don’t close people out.
Wujek-Calcaterra & Sons also offers Grief Support Services to help you through these trying times.