2716 Ocean Park Blvd, Suite 3075, Santa Monica, CA 90405 • Tel: 310-612-2998  •  Fax: +1-323-978-5416 © 2016 Pacific MFT

Grieving Lost Loved Ones During the Holidays

November 30, 2017

GRIEF & THE HOLIDAYS

Republished from Grief.com, https://grief.com/grief-the-holidays/

 

“Holidays are time spent with loved ones” was imprinted on our psyche from a young age. Holidays mark the passage of time in our lives. They are part of the milestones we share with each other and they generally represent time spent with family. They bring meaning to certain days and we bring much meaning back to them. But since holidays are for being with those we love the most, how on earth can anyone be expected to cope with them when a loved one has died? For many people, this is the hardest part of grieving, when we miss our loved ones even more than usual.How can you celebrate togetherness when there is none? When you have lost someone special, your world losses its celebratory qualities. Holidays only magnify the loss. The sadness feels sadder and the loneliness goes deeper. The need for support may be the greatest during the holidays. Pretending you don’t hurt and or it is not a harder time of the year is just not the truth for you. If it wasn’t harder you probably wouldn’t be here. You can and will get through the holidays. Rather than avoiding the feelings of grief, lean into them. It is not the grief you want to avoid, it is the pain. Grief is the way out of the pain. There are a number of ways to incorporate your loved one and your loss into the holidays.

 

Fall and Winter Holidays

These are the biggest and usually most challenging of all. You can and will get through the Holidays. Rather than avoiding the feelings of grief, lean into them. It is not the grief you want to avoid, it is the pain. Grief is the way out of the pain. Grief is our internal feelings and mourning is our external expressions. It isn’t as important how you remember, you honor them by the fact that you remember.

 

Ways to remember the loss- give it a time and a place

  •  A few heartfelt words before the Holiday dinner, about your loved one

  •  Light a candle for your loved one

  •  Create an online tribute for them

  •  Share a favorite story about your loved one

  •  Have everyone tell a funny story about your loved one

  •  Remember them at your place of worship

  •  Chat online about them

  •  Write a love letter

  •  Smile a smile for them

  •  Tell someone about them

  •  Find ways to honor and remember them.

  •  Donate time or money in their name.

  •  Do something you loved to do together on that day.

 

Ways to Cope

Have a Plan A/Plan B – Plan A is you go to the Thanksgiving, Christmas Day or Christmas Eve dinner with family and friends. If it doesn’t feel right, have your plan B ready. Plan B may be a movie you both liked or a photo album to look through or a special place you went to together. Many people find that when they have Plan B in place, just knowing it is there is enough.

Cancel the Holiday all together. Yes, you can cancel the Holiday. If you are going through the motions and feeling nothing, cancel them. Take a year off. They will come around again. For others, staying involved with the Holidays is a symbol of life continuing. Let the Holiday routine give you a framework during these tough times.

 

Try the Holidays in a new way. Grief has a unique way of giving us the permission to really evaluate what parts of the Holidays you enjoy and what parts you don’t. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to handle the Holidays in grief. You have to decide what is right for you and do it. You have every right to change your mind, even a few times. Friends and family members may not have a clue how to help you through the Holidays and you may not either.

 

It is very natural to feel you may never enjoy the Holidays again. They will certainly never be the same as they were. However, in time, most people are able to find meaning again in the traditions as a new form of the Holiday Spirit grows inside of them. Even without grief, our friends and relatives often think they know how our Holidays should look, what “the family” should and shouldn’t do.

 

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do be gentle with yourself and protect yourself

  • Don’t do more than you want

  • Don’t do anything that does not serve your soul and your loss

  • Do allow time for the feelings

  • Don’t keep feelings bottled up. If you have 500 tears to cry don’t stop at 250

  • Do allow others to help. We all need help at certain times in our lives

  • Don’t "ask" if you can help or should help a friend in grief. Just help. Find ways; invite them to group events or just out for coffee

  • Do, in grief, pay extra attention to the children. Children are too often the forgotten grievers

 
Just remember Holidays are clearly some of the roughest terrain we navigate after a loss. The ways we handle them are as individual as we are. What is vitally important is that we be present for the loss in whatever form the holidays do or don’t take. These holidays are part of the journey to be felt fully. They are usually very sad, but sometimes we may catch ourselves doing okay, and we may even have a brief moment of laughter. You don’t have to be a victim of the pain or the past. When the past calls, let it go to voice mail…it has nothing to say. You don’t have to be haunted by the pain or the past. You can remember and honor the love. Whatever you experience, just remember that sadness is allowed because death, as they say, doesn’t take a holiday.
 

Even without grief, our friends and relatives often think they know how our holidays should look, what the family should and shouldn’t do. Now more than ever, be gentle with yourself. Don’t do more than you want, and don’t do anything that does not serve your soul and your loss.

 

Pacific MFT Network offers grief and loss support in our Santa Monica and Manhattan Beach locations.  If you'd like more information, please contact our office at 310-612-2998 or email here.   

 

To find out more about Pacific MFT Network and the services we offer, please visit our website, www.pacificmft.com.

 

Pacific Marriage and Family Therapy Network provides children, teens, adults of all ages, couples, and families with quality psychotherapy that gets results.  We have several therapists on staff that have several different modalities of work, specializations and expertise.  We can help clients experiencing anxiety, depression, difficult life transitions, troubled relationships, addiction, eating disorders, stress, anger management, prenatal bonding, trauma, domestic violence, performance, whole life fitness, ADD/ADHD, autism, learning differences, religious crisis/struggles, LGBTQ issues, social skills, couples/marital, pre-marital, dating, break up recovery, parenting children, parenting teens, social anxiety, self esteem, substance use, panic, stress relief, cancer recovery, pre-surgical wellness, post-surgical wellness, disordered eating, postpartum depression, careers, grief & loss, divorce, co-parenting, childhood trauma, childhood behavior management, work & life balance, fatherhood, codependancy, or any other mental health issue. Pacific MFT Network is a professional network of highly skilled licensed Marriage & Family Therapists and Interns that are committed to empowering a sense of self in our clients and helping them live the life they want. We do so by creating a relationship that is based on genuine care and concern, non-judgment, and support. Our mission is to help you help yourself live a happier and more satisfying life. 

 

Main Office 310-612-2998

www.pacificmft.com

office@pacificmft.com

1230 Rosecrans Avenue, Suite 300  Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

2716 Ocean Park Blvd, Suite 3075  Santa Monica, CA 90405

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please reload

Featured Posts

Teen Girl Art Therapy Group in Manhattan Beach

April 13, 2018

1/3
Please reload

Recent Posts
Please reload

Search By Tags