20 Dec Coping With Loss During the Holidays
It’s “that time of year,” and the pressure is on.
To look happy, to be happy, to have a happy family, to make happy memories.
But what happens when you’re not happy? Or if you’re going through a difficult time. Perhaps you’ve even lost a loved one or someone important in your life.
If you have lost a loved one, the holiday season can be a painful reminder of how terrible you are feeling instead of bringing warmth and excitement. In watching the celebration of others, you may feel more isolated. On the other hand, you may experience feelings of betrayal if you actually enjoy moments without your loved one. Grief is not rational.
Grieving over the loss of a loved one is necessary and natural. Time and balance are important components. The first few years are perhaps the most difficult, but even years later, the holidays may lack the meaning they once had. No two people grieve the same and there is no right or wrong way to grieve.
While there are no simple guidelines that will make it easy to cope with grief during the holiday season, hopefully the following suggestions may help you make your personal experience more tolerable:
Be patient and realistic. Plan ahead so that you are not overwhelmed by responsibilities at the last moment.
Listen to your heart and acknowledge your limits. Become aware of your needs and express them to family and friends with whom you plan to spend the holidays.
Remember it is okay to say no. You don’t have to accept every invitation that comes your way. Do what you can this holiday season, and let it be sufficient.
Allow the tears to come, but look for joy amidst the pain. As you unpack and sift through holiday decorations, understand that along with warm, loving memories, you will be unpacking some heartache as well. Don’t deny yourself the gift of healing tears.
Be patient and know that every process, even grief, has an ending. You may never get over the loss but you can find a place of acceptance.