Let’s face it: Remembering loved ones during the holidays isn’t all kittens and rainbows. Remembering can bring feelings of loss and emptiness to the forefront.
But, there’s another truth. It’s going to happen. During the holidays, we’re going to remember—and miss—loved ones who have passed. We going to remember Christmas or Hanukkahs past.
We wonder how to bring meaning to those feelings of loss. Especially during the first holiday season after a loss, we also wonder how we’re going to get through. Here are some resources for doing just that.
Work remembering and missing loved ones into your holiday traditions
Experts point out that this whole process of remembering and missing loved ones can bring meaning to your holiday. You can honor your loved one’s memory while acknowledging your own grief. In her article, Meaningful Remembrance Ideas for Holiday Grief, for Belief.net, Nancy Copeland-Payton presents ideas for incorporating memories of your loved ones into old and new traditions during the holidays.
Prepare yourself and your family
It’s nearly impossible to predict the ebb and tides of our emotions during the holidays. However, we can make a game plan of sorts. Knowing how much to expect of yourself and others when remembering and missing loved ones can help you get through the holidays. In their article Are You Ready for the Holidays?, the counselors at NavigatingGrief.org have assembled helpful advice to help you cope.
HelloGrief.com also has a common sense guide to getting through a milestone season: Navigating Grief during the Holidays.
Churches and synagogues also have faith-based resources for dealing with tragedy and loss. They are also particularly aware of the need for those services during the holidays. Houses of worship also often sponsor grief groups. These can be very helpful.
Many churches also have a Stephen Ministry program—and you don’t have to be a church member to receive care. A Stephen minister is a trained lay person that offers one-on-one care to people going through tough times. Stephen ministers usually meet with care receivers once a week.
Don’t be afraid to reach out
Don’t be afraid to tell friends what you need.
It’s hard to ask for help. I get that. Add in that grief and depression often have a paralysis effect, and it can be doubly hard. However, many times friends keep their distance because they’re not sure what you need. They don’t know if you want to be left alone. They’re afraid they’ll bring you down if you’re doing well. If you’re invited to a party that you don’t want to go to, it’s fine to say just that. Better yet, say that meeting for coffee would be more helpful. Let friends know how they can help.