Dealing with Grief during Christmas & the holidays

Following the loss of someone close leaves a certain trepidation of days to come … birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, will never be the same. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s can be some of the most difficult and challenging times.

Holidays are meant to spend time with those we love the most — sharing love, food, creating memories and laughter. So, how are we “celebrate” when those that we love the most will not be with us? It isn’t easy and for many people, it is the most difficult part of grieving and the time when we miss our loved ones even more.

How do we celebrate being together when there is an empty place at the table? Our sadness seems sadder, our loneliness is unfathomable and you just don’t feel like celebrating. How do we handle it? We face it head on. It is not really the grief we are trying to avoid, it is the pain that comes from it. Remember, grief is our internal feelings and mourning is our external expressions…

Grieving and Christmas & the Holidays

The holidays can be a rough time of the year for many of us. Two years ago this month I lost my brother suddenly 7 days after my father in law was diagnosed with brain cancer and we were told that he only had weeks to live. And as if that was not enough, we had to have our 12-year-old black lab put down in the middle of all of that. My brother’s funeral and my father in law’s funeral were literally 7 days apart! As bad as that all sounds, I have to say that year was one of the best Christmas’ we have ever had.

Even though my sister’s and I all suffered the same loss of a brother, they knew that for me, losing my father in law and a long time family pet on top of it was more than I could handle. My younger sister decided to have all of us to her home that year including my mother in law, my brother in law and his family and my sister in law’s parents. We had nontraditional food and my sister and I gave everyone small yet meaningful gifts to everyone. It was nothing but love for Christmas that year. And that’s what it should be every year.

If you are suffering a loss this year or like me your loss happened close to Christmas and the holiday’s, I highly recommend you be proactive about how you get through the holidays:

1. Acknowledge the loss and your grief. My father in law died 2 years ago today.

2. Ask for and accept help. Two years ago, I had a couple of dear friends go to my house and set up and decorate my Christmas tree and our church family fed us for 21 days straight.

3. Don’t feel  …