As the lights twinkle and the merriment of shopping and gatherings increase, those who are mourning the loss of a loved one may feel like outsiders to joy.
It’s true… Holidays can be difficult times – especially the first year after the passing of a loved one. Where music and laughter flow freely, our hearts may be troubled and our sadness, palpable. While it may not feel like a happy time for you; when in mourning, knowing that you’re not alone can help provide some solace.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to mourning and its timeline. We are all different in the ways in which we grieve and how long it will take to heal. Because the holidays center on family and friends, this can also be a beneficial time to fully embrace what you feel and start to heal those wounds.
Acknowledge and Honor Your Feelings
It’s OK to feel the loss and acknowledge your less-than-enthusiastic holiday spirit. Holidays are rarely as picture-perfect as commercials make them out to be – for anyone. Do as much (or as little) as what feels right to you.
The Love That Never Ends
Some people find holidays to be oddly comforting – a time to commemorate the magical moments and memories spent from years past. Taking time to talk about these wonderful moments – from childhood through the years – can illustrate the truth of love: that it is never-ending.
Make a Plan
If you are already feeling quite overwhelmed, ask a friend or loved one to help you make a plan for optimally dealing with the next few months. Are there things you enjoy doing, such as volunteering or knitting, getting out in nature or watching a sports game? Create a list of things to do that bring you comfort and include contact information for friends, family, clergy, a therapist, or anyone else in your support circle.
Sometimes we choose to repress our feelings or “keep them to ourselves” for fear of bring down the spirits of others. Unfortunately, this denies us a healing opportunity and robs loved ones and friends a chance to be supportive (which is also healing). If you feel lonely and want companionship, pick up the phone, invite someone to coffee, or volunteer at your favorite nonprofit.
Take Care of Yourself
In our grief, it’s easy to let the little things go… chores, errands, cooking, and self-care. By focusing on completing daily tasks, such as prepping the garden bed for next season or shopping for delicious, whole foods for a scrumptious homemade dinner, you might find yourself feeling a bit better. Daily self-care – taking a warm bubble bath, meditating or praying, or lighting a favorite scented candle – is cathartic and helps promote all levels of healing: physical, emotional, and spiritual.
Create New Memories (While Honoring the Old)
It’s likely you are not alone in your grief. Even if others were not close to your departed loved one, they may feel a sense of sadness as they walk with you during this tough time. While it is easy to get lost in some reverie of …what once was, there are also opportunities for creating new memories and traditions, such as an annual gathering of friends or a night of favorite holiday passages and readings.
If it feels appropriate, you can include a memorial or symbolic gift to honor the memory of your loved one by planting a fir tree, offering seeds on the wind to the many winter birds, or compiling a cd of favorite songs.
During this holiday season, all of us at Craig Funeral Home Crematory Memorial Park extend our sincerest condolences and wishes for many bright, beautiful, and meaningful new memories to be made with friends and family.