Coping with Grief during Holidays
Tips for Handling the Holidays
DECIDE WHAT YOU CAN HANDLE COMFORTABLY AND LET FAMILY
AND FRIENDS KNOW. Can I handlle the responsibility of the family
dinner, etc. or shall I
ask someone else to do it? Do I want to talk about my loved one
or not? Shall I stay here for the holidays or go to a completely
MAKE SOME CHANGES IF THEY FEEL COMFORTABLE FOR YOU. Open presents
Christmas Eve instead of Christmas morning. Vary the timing of Channukah
gift giving. Have dinner at a different time or place. Let the children
take over decorating the house, the tree, baking and food preparation,
RE-EXAMINE YOUR PRIORITIES: GREETING CARDS, HOLIDAY BAKING,
DECORATING, PUTTING UP A TREE, FAMILY DINNER, ETC. Do I really enjoy
doing this? Is this a task that can be shared?
CONSIDER DOING SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR SOMEONE ELSE. Donate a gift
in the memory of your loved one. Donate money you would have spent
on your loved one as a gift to charity. Adopt a needy family for the
holidays. Invite a guest (foreign student, senior citizen) to share
RECOGNIZE YOUR LOVED ONE'S PRESENCE IN THE FAMILY. Burn a special
candle to quietly include your loved one. Hang a stocking for your
loved one in which people can put notes with their thoughts or feelings.
Listen to music especially liked by the deceased. Look at photographs.
IF YOU DECIDE TO DO HOLIDAY SHOPPING, MAKE A LIST
AHEAD OF TIME AND KEEP IT HANDY FOR A GOOD DAY, OR SHOP THROUGH A
OBSERVE THE HOLIDAYS IN WAYS WHICH ARE COMFORTABLE
FOR YOU. There is no right or wrong way of handling holidays. Once
you've decided how to observe the time, let others know.
TRY TO GET ENOUGH REST -- HOLIDAYS CAN BE EMOTIONALLY
AND PHYSICALLY DRAINING.
ALLOW YOURSELF TO EXPRESS YOUR FEELINGS. Holidays often magnify
feelings of loss. It is natural to feel sadness. Share concerns,
apprehensions, feelings with a friend. The need for support is often
greater during holidays.
KEEP IN MIND THAT THE EXPERIENCE OF MANY BEREAVED PERSONS IS
THAT THEY DO COME TO ENJOY HOLIDAYS AGAIN. THERE WILL BE OTHER HOLIDAY
SEASONS TO CELEBRATE.
DON'T BE AFRAID TO HAVE FUN. Laughter and joy are not disrespectful.
Give yourself and your family members permission to celebrate and
take pleasure in the holidays.
Reprinted from *Bereavement & Loss Resources* a publication of Rivendell
Resources and GriefNet.
Rivendell Resources grants anyone the right to reprint this information
without request for compensation so long as the copy is not used for
profit and so long as this paragraph is reprinted in its entirety with
copied portion. For further
Cendra (ken'dra) Lynn, Ph.D. - Cendra@griefnet.org
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