Dealing With Grief Over the Holidays – A few tips and a personal story

Dealing with Grief Over the Holidays

Some Tips and a Personal Story to Help You With Your Loss This Season

The Holidays are a great time of year.  The Birth of Jesus, cookies, gifts, carols and family memories are all great things about the holidays we enjoy.  However, Circle of Life Hospice realizes this season of joy can be one of grief and sorrow for those who have lost a loved one during the past year.  Many times the holidays can bring back the pain of our loss, as the realization that our loved one isn’t here to enjoy the annual family traditions hits us as hard as the frozen air outside.  One of Circle of Life Hospice’s bereavement mailings for our hospice families deals with this subject.  The following excerpt is taken from this mailing, which comes from the great folks at Hope Through Healing Publications who have generously allowed us to post this on our site for everyone to benefit from.  Here are a few tips to help you bring comfort during the Holidays followed by a personal story from me:

  • Set Limits for Yourself – Look to simplify rather than overwhelm yourself.  Do only as much as you can manage emotionally and physically.
  • Express Your Feelings – Sharing the vulnerabilities of your emotions with others who are grieving your loss brings strength to all.
  • Ask for What You Need – Unless you tell them, other people cannot know what you need or are feeling.  Ask for help with shopping, entertaining, cooking and cleaning.
  • Resist Isolation – The love and the enjoyment of being with those who love you can nourish and aid you in healing.
  • Break From Tradition – Traditions which emphasize the absence of your loved one may not be appropriate this year.  If you do keep with certain traditions, allow for minor changes, such as where you spend the holiday or with whom.
  • New Traditions – Creating new rituals may be more healing for you and the rest of the family than rekindling past activities.  Involving friends and family may help heal their grief as well.

These are a few great ideas of things you can do during the Holidays to help with your grief.  Do you have any other ideas you’d like to share with everyone?  Maybe you have been through these times before and have some other suggestions or ideas.  Perhaps you have a way of honoring a loved one during the holidays?  If so, we want to hear about it.  Visit the Circle of Life Hospice Facebook page and share your ideas.  I’m sure many of our Circle of Life Hospice “Friends” would love to hear your ideas and may greatly benefit from them during this Holiday season.

Just to break the ice, let me go ahead and be the first one to share a personal story of one way my family brought comfort this Holiday season.  On January 1st my loving Grandma passed away on Hospice care after a week-long stay in an incredible Hospice House.  I don’t know why, but every year for our family feasts during the holidays, whether at Christmas or Thanksgiving my Grandma would always make this red jello with bananas and marshmallows. It kind of just became a staple dish during our gatherings, nothing fancy, but something we could always count on and something my cousins and I just kind of came to expect.  This past Thanksgiving since Grandma wasn’t here to make it, I decided that to honor Grandma we should have it.  So my kids and my cousin’s kids (all under age 10 and all girls) gathered in the kitchen and they made the “famous” red jello for Grandma.  Maybe it’s kind of a new way to carry on an old tradition, but I had to smile while watching Grandma’s Great-Granddaughters make this delicious dish.  Those 4 Great-Granddaughters brought more joy to my Grandma than anything else in life.  This famous red jello is a way that we can carry on the joy Grandma brought to our lives. I look forward to someday telling my Grandkids the story behind this fine fruity desert.  Funny, but for some reason that red jello made Thanksgiving a little easier…and it tasted really good.  Thanks Grandma.