During heavy raw grief, the word celebrate may bring relief from heavy feelings or make you want to run and hide. While the spirit of the season is thought to bring joy and happiness, it may stir up even more feelings of loss and missing the loved one that died. All of these feelings are ok. Grief is exhausting. It takes a LOT of physical energy to work on grief. Sometimes you are left with very little energy for anything else and things like family get togethers can be re energizing and comforting or overwhelming. Take a moment to think about how your last get together made you feel or how you think this season might make you feel.
Here are some tips for celebrating the holidays through grief brought to you by Crescent Cove:
- Give yourself permission to feel your feelings. Don’t feel pressured to be happy and celebratory if you are feeling sad. It’s ok to feel sad – even or especially during the holidays. It is also ok to feel happy. It can feel awkward to laugh and celebrate when your loved one has died. But, they would love to see you smiling, so relish in the happiness when it comes.
- Allow yourself to make this holiday what you need it to be. If sending cards seems overwhelming, then don’t this year. If you usually host but don’t want to, that’s ok. If it feels better to vacation over the holiday, you should go. Holidays, especially the first ones without your loved that died, are different. You don’t have to do the same things you always did if it doesn’t feel right. But of course, if tradition brings comfort, continue your holiday traditions while incorporating your loved one in someway.
- If you are not sure how get togethers will make you feel, leave yourself an out. Be honest and let others know this time brings a lot of feelings for you, that you would like to celebrate with others but may be need to leave earlier than expected. Or if you need an immediate time away, an unused bedroom or bathroom is a good place to find solace.
- Find a way or start a holiday tradition of honoring your loved one that died. It can be just you or the entire family that honors your loved one. It will open your heart when you hold remembrance for this person and it can feel like they are part of the holidays. Think about what this might look like for you. Some ideas include: lighting a candle for that person while thinking or talking about memories of them, purchase or craft something with their name on it to display during the holidays, have a special stocking made in memory of them and put a family gift in it, write your favorite holiday memories of your loved one and look at pictures of them, donate a gift in your loved ones honor, or bake their favorite holiday treats.
Although your loved one is not here physically anymore, leave your heart open, you may feel their spirit within you. These first holidays without them can feel different or even wrong. Integrating their memory into the holidays with new traditions can give you something to look forward to each year and allow them to still be a part of the holidays. They are always in your heart and nothing will ever change that.
A peaceful holiday season to you from Crescent Cove!
Written By: Natalie Wilson