The holidays are often a time of great joy and love shared with family and friends. Despite all of the family togetherness and holiday cheer though, this time of year can be difficult to navigate for those who have lost a loved one.
Even the most wonderful traditions – the annual family Christmas party, a friendly gift exchange, or the sparkling tree – can be a reminder of loss to those who are grieving.
Watching other people enjoy time with loved ones can stand in stark contrast to the loneliness felt without the friend or family member that was always by your side. And this can be true whether or not you lost someone during the holiday season, or whether or not the loss was recent.
The associates of Iowa Cremation are dedicated to assisting you in finding resources that may assist you while on your grief journey. We have many publications available and a staff member designated to assist you with finding assistance. We also offer an extensive online grief resource listing.
We also want to give you some practical ideas right here on our blog on how to not only get you through the holidays but perhaps to assist find your own joy during this season:
Handle traditions with care.
You might find the traditions you’re used to participating in are simply too painful for you this year. That’s perfectly okay. Don’t let external pressure force you into something that is going to increase your pain. It’s okay to excuse yourself from family traditions. The people who love you will understand and support you.
Be patient with yourself.
Everyone’s grieving process looks different. Don’t compare your journey to others or even what you read about in grief resources. Allow yourself to feel the way you feel, even if it’s angry or sad. On the other hand, if you feel happiness or joy as you delight in the season, that is okay too!
Take care of yourself.
Even with a “normal” holiday, life can get stressful, with presents to buy, budgets to stretch, and parties to plan. With the added pressure and emotional strain of a recent loss, all of these stressors can be compounded. Take the time to focus on yourself and how you are feeling both physically and mentally.
One of the best ways to remind ourselves of the true reason for the season is by helping others. There are plenty of opportunities during the holidays for reaching out to those in need. Contact local charities and churches to find out how they’re serving your community, and if you feel up to it, get involved. You might be surprised how it lifts your spirits!
Above all else, remember that this time of year really isn’t about presents, food, or parties – it’s about the truest gift of all – love. Reflect on the love you gave and received to the friend or family member you lost. Nothing – not even physical separation – can take that away.