The holiday season can be a difficult time for people who have lost a loved one. Sharing memories and spending time with friends and family during the season can often remind us of our loss. Christmas music, holiday parties, and festive decorations that were meant to bring joy can serve as painful reminders of the ones we have lost. Particularly in the first year, many bereaved are left with having to develop new holiday rituals and traditions.
Though grieving can be very complex and unique to each individual, below are a few tips for handling grief during the holidays:
Surround yourself with people who love and support you and don't be afraid to ask for help when you are struggling. It can be a time to share memories with others, tell stories, and look through photo albums.
Trust that grief is part of healing. It is okay to feel joy, sadness, anger and other emotions. Experiencing joy and happiness does not diminish how much you love and miss the person who isn't there this holiday.
Most importantly, give yourself time. The grieving process doesn’t neatly conclude after a certain amount of time. Depending on the strength of the bond that was broken, grief can be life-long. Nevertheless, grief does usually soften and change over time and the holidays will become easier to handle.
This list is brief and in no way complete, but thinking about these suggestions may be helpful. Remember, grieving can be different for every person and there is no right or wrong way to experience it.