Grief Through the Holidays

In our lives, there are many holidays or special days. These are all difficult days for the bereaved, but for many, the most difficult time of the year is the holiday season. It is at this time we are so acutely aware of and feel the pain of our loss.

Here are some ideas and suggestions that others have found helpful.

  1. Family get-togethers may be extremely difficult. Sit down with your family and decide what you want to do for the holiday season. Don't set expectations too high for yourself or of the day. Be honest about your feelings.

  2. Keep in mind the feelings of your children or family members. Try to make the holiday season as joyous as possible for them.

  3. Be careful of shoulds . . . it is better to do what is most helpful for you and your family.

  4. Set limitations and do the things that are very special or important to you.

  5. Try to get enough rest. The holiday season can be emotionally and physically draining.

  6. If shopping seems to be too much, have your spouse, relative or close friend help you. Consider shopping through a catalog.

  7. Cut back on your card-sending. It is not necessary to send cards to those people you will see over the holidays.

  8. Do something for someone else. Ask someone who is alone to share the day with your family.

  9. Donate a gift or money in your loved one's name.

  10. Share your concerns, feelings and fears as the holiday approaches with a relative or friend.

  11. Holidays often magnify feelings of loss of a loved one. It is important and natural to experience the sadness that comes. To block such feelings is unhealthy. Keep the positive memory of the loved one alive.

If you or someone you know has problems coping with loss and grief, call for help.

Reprinted with permission. Copyright (C) 1997, All Rights Reserved. HOPE FOR BEREAVED INC., 4500 Onondaga Blvd., Syracuse, NY 13219 USA. Article from HOPE FOR BEREAVED book, available at the above address; $13.50 plus $2.50 postage and handling. Telephone: 315.475.9675.