By Catherine Capra-Leaf
This is some helpful information that I found on getting through the holidays when you are in the midst of loss and sadness. Christmas is usually a time of great joy and wonderful memories with family. When someone is grieving, all the world changes, but ironically in the midst of it all, you can find peace and strength.
I have posted some wonderful advice you may find helpful, posted By Anthony Komaroff, M.D. who gives some great suggestions.
Although grief is nearly universal, it expresses itself in many different ways, and sometimes resembles major depression. Frequent crying spells, depressed mood, sleep disturbances, and loss of appetite are common during the bereavement process.
Grief is not a tidy, orderly process, and there is no right way to grieve. Every person—and every family—does it differently. This can cause emotions to collide and overlap, especially during the holiday season when the emphasis is on rebirth and renewal.
Here are the strategies recommended in the Harvard Mental Health Letter that may help you or someone you know who is grieving cope with the holidays:
Start a new tradition. During a holiday dinner, place a lighted candle on the dinner table, leave an empty chair, or say a few words of remembrance.
Change the celebration. Go out to dinner instead of planning an elaborate meal at home. Or schedule a trip with friends.
Express your needs. People who are grieving may find it hard to participate in all the festivities or may need to let go of unsatisfying traditions. It’s all right to tell people you just aren’t up to it right now or to change plans at the last minute. I remember that my sister did not join in singing carols, the holidays after our father died.
Help someone else. It may also help to volunteer through a charitable or religious organization. Make a donation to a favorite cause in memory of the person who died. In retrospect, I wish I had done this during that sad holiday.
Give yourself time. The grieving process doesn’t neatly conclude at the six-month or one-year mark. Depending on the strength of the bond that was broken, grief can be life-long. Nevertheless, grief does usually soften and change over time. With time, the holidays will become easier to handle.
Light a rememberence candle. One last idea of my own that you may find comforting is finding a candle that you like, and light it when your guests arrive, or bring it as a gift to whomever is hosting a family event. It gives your loved one presence among you. It’s a beautiful yet subtle way to remember them.
I invite you to post your own strategies that have worked for you if you care to share them.
“Remember them, remember yourself, and remember your family. The love of others help you through this season. Happy Holidays.