So many are experiencing loss at this time of year especially as emotions are high and can come to us when we least expect it. We can quickly become overwhelmed. Since my brother died, I have learned a couple of things that have helped me deal with grief. Grief comes in waves lasting 20 to 30 minutes because our bodies can’t sustain such strong grieving for much longer than that. In time it will be less and less, they’ll be smaller and further apart. Don’t resist these waves, it’s a part of your healing. Allow yourself to flow through them and be patient with yourself. Feeling helpless and broken, as others celebrate the holidays… and pretending and putting on that brave face for everyone around you is exhausting. Christmas is a time for memories. All of our senses move us backwards in time, with the lights and foods, the smells and songs. It’s easy to say ‘be thankful for what you have’ or ‘they’d want you to be happy at Christmas’… it’s another to accept it.
I know it’s OK to ‘pass’ on Christmas, to stay home and say no thanks to festivities. I just don’t feel I should. By being around others and not wanting to spoil their holidays, forces me to wait to deal with how I feel.
So, for me I push these waves back as best I can knowing that I’ll make time for it later. I’ll wait until I’m alone and I’ll cry, write, talk to them. I’ll look at pictures, and just miss them. I know if I don’t allow myself this time, I won’t be able to continue through the holidays without them, with any strength I’ll surely fall apart. As you continue through the process of grieving, as you make your way through the sadness, I believe every day is a day closer to some peace of mind.
Some suggestions I found that may help you get through the holidays…
* The anticipation of the day will probably be much worse than the day itself.
* Take a flask of soup and some sandwiches and GO WALKING ON CHRISTMAS DAY.
* Be prepared to weep as you get out the decorations. Set aside a time to do this as a family or on your own.
* Make a Christmas wreath or decorations you could place on their grave.
* ACCEPT ANY OFFERS OF HELP and don’t feel like a failure for doing so.
* For the first empty Christmas, don’t try to recreate old rituals. DO SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. If possible,
get away somewhere and begin to create some new special memories Even if it’s a disaster, it will be a different sort
* Try to find very good friends to spend _me with, where you can really be SAFE and you can all cry, laugh, whatever.
* Try to spend at least a short time, just as a family, to allow each person to remember or share something about how
they feel. Be careful not to spend too much time on this as it may be too heavy.
* LIGHT A SPECIAL CANDLE on Christmas Day.
* Avoid the shops as much as possible – it can make Christmas feel more empty and shallow than it already feels. Don’t be pressured into feeling you HAVE to do anything – remember you only have to do as much as you want to do.
Reprinted from “The Compassionate Friends” December Newsletter
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