Grief and the Holidays

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The first Christmas after the loss of a loved one can be particularly difficult. Anxiety can often crop up when you begin to ponder how you will experience the holidays and cope with all the feelings that are likely to arise.  How do I honor the memory of my loved one and process the feelings of loss, while also being present with family, friends, and co-workers?  Here are a few reminders you may find helpful in this upcoming season.

Give yourself permission to grieve.

Give yourself permission to grieve.  You don’t have to stuff your feelings down or hide them away from   yourself or others.

There’s no reward for speed.

There’s no reward for speed. Grieving is difficult, hard work – especially around holidays and anniversaries.  Therefore, wherever you are in your grief journey is OK.

Find a meaningful way this season to honor the memory of your loved one.

Find a meaningful way this season to honor the memory of your loved one.  The loss of a loved one isn’t something you simply “get over” at some point.  We learn how to reconcile the grief and integrate it into our lives as we begin to move forward in the new normal, but the love we carry for those we have lost lasts forever.

As you process through your grief journey this holiday season and moving forward remember that some of the gentlest peace arises when you can both encounter your grief and surrender to it.

Reference
Wolfelt, A. (2003). Understanding your grief.  Fort Collins, CO:  Companion Press