Holidays will now be different with in absence of your loved one. It hurts, it definitely will, the pain from missing your loved one will be stronger during this period. Here are some ways to help you through the holidays season.
1. Prepare to answer difficult questions
At holiday parties and gatherings, family and friends are bound to ask “How are you doing?” because they care for you. Well, you might reply them with generic answer saying “I’m fine” or “I’m OK”, but those are not your honest feelings. Try to tell them truthfully how you are coping with the loss, share with them what happened today or recently, let them support you through your grief. No worries if your honest talk starts to get uncomfortable, just thank them for listening and talk about something else!
Tips: Think and prepare in advance how you can answer “how are you doing” question truthfully.
2. Ignore hurtful advice
There will be friends and family who will give advice or comments to you that might make you feel uncomfortable or even hurt. For example, “At least, he’s now in a better place”, “You should start moving on with your life”, “He wouldn’t want to see you like this”, “Come on, be happy! Its time for celebration!”
But remember, they have well-intention and/or just do not know how to say it to you. So, don’t take these advices to heart if they’ve hurt you, let it slide.
Tips: The next time someone says something like this to you, let them know how you feel, or allow yourself to walk away.
3. Say no
It can be difficult for you to want to join or plan any parties, especially if it has not been long ago since you’ve lost your loved one. It’s okay to reject invitations to parties if you do not feel like attending. Send a message to let them know how you are feeling and thank them for their invitation. However, you cannot run away from such events forever. Saying yes to events important to you means that you are continuing your life. Its ok to say NO, but say YES sometimes too.
Tips: Say no to something today and not feel guilty about it!
4. Make a holiday scrapbook or memory box
Since you might be skipping some holiday parties, spend those time making scrapbook or photo album while thinking of your loved one. Holidays will not be the same without your loved one, but you can look for memories of your loved ones from past holidays. Look through past holiday photos or items, and place them in a memory box or scrapbook. You can also write captions about the story behind each photo or item. These memory box and scrapbook can be displayed somewhere in the living room for others to see. It can become your new holiday tradition where you will look through it with your family and friends every year.
Tips: Start the project today! Look for a photo or item that brings memories of your loved one, and place it in a box or an album you like.
5. Give a gift in the name of the person who died
Start a new holiday tradition by gifting in the name of your loved one! Look for a non-profit organisation, charity, or a person that your loved one was close to, and prepare a gift for them this holiday. If your loved one was a person who loves children, you can donate in the name of your loved one to an orphanage home. You could prepare a gift for your loved one’s best friend too.
Tips: Look for a keepsake that belong to your loved one when alive, and gift it to someone that will find it meaningful and appreciates it.
6. Believe in a better next year
This holiday season might be difficult for you. Pain and sad feelings are all part of grief you cannot escape from it. But as time goes by, the feeling of pain and sadness will lessen. By the next holiday you will probably feel less sadness and pain, but experience more joy than previous.
Believe in your ability to heal and grow from grief. Believe that next year will be better.
Tips: Write a small note to yourself on how you would like to enjoy next year’s holiday, and keep it away with your holiday decorations.
With these 6 tips we hope you will be able to enjoy this holiday season even while you are healing from grief.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Alan D. Wolfelt, P. (2005). Healing Your Holiday Grief. Colorado: Companion Press.