Ahh, the Holidays.
If you have lost a family member, a spouse, a sibling, or a child, the Holidays may bring anxiety. Everybody around you seems to be a bit giddy; conversation often turns to plans for Christmas. It seems that everyone, even strangers, want to share what holiday parties they are invited to, what they placed under the tree for family, and other holiday happenings. This may invoke a number of feelings for you.
Grief and the Holidays
You may struggle to smile when talk turns to the holidays. Some bereaved people want to avoid the holidays all together. The merry-making of others can cause additional emotional pain for those who are already experiencing the pain of loss. There are, however, ways to help yourself navigate the many emotions of this holiday season.
Grouch or Grinch?
Those around you may not understand how your grief can affect your enthusiasm for the Holidays this year. Your “less than jolly” mood may be mistaken as being grouchy. Don’t’ worry. Some bereaved people to want to withdraw from the whole season as the Grinch of the fabled story prefers. However, as we saw in the Grinch’s story, through some kindness and interaction with a few kind people, he was able to overcome the debilitating feelings of anger towards the holidays.
Some helpful suggestions
So before you follow the Grinch to Mt. Crumpit, try these helpful suggestions that have been shared with our grief counselors:
- Think about your previous family holiday traditions. Which ones may be important to follow? Are there other traditions that might be better for you if they are changed?
- Consult the Holiday Planner worksheet available on the Pray Funeral Home website shared by one of our grief counselors. This may help decide which traditions to keep, which traditions to change, what holiday chores to do ourselves and what to delegate to others.
- Come up with a new Plan of Action for the Holidays, which is also available on the web site.
- Pace yourself.
- Let others help you.
- Allow time for memories.
- New traditions can be started.
Tis the Season
As one of our colleagues stated, “Tis the season to feel what you feel. If you don’t feel jolly, don’t punish yourself for it! The calendar can’t mandate our emotions, especially at a time when your life is not on an even keel.”
Take the time to examine what you would like to do this season. Share your feelings with those around you, chances are they will support you. Just like the Grinch, your attitude toward the season may develop into something quite surprising.