The holidays are a time of family gatherings, traditions, gifts and spirituality. It’s a magical time for children and adults alike. It’s also a time many of us miss our loved ones who are no longer with us. After someone important dies the holidays are often never the same again.
Traditions, events, parties, songs, movies.. the grief triggers are everywhere. Many cope with their loss by avoiding conversation about their loved ones or just being in denial. Here are some ways of coping with loss during this time.
My loved ones are always in my heart. I miss them even more when we have celebrations. Their absence is deafening. Keeping our loved one’s memory alive helps us cope. You can continue to make them a part of your holiday season.
Here some ways to remember loved ones during the holidays:
1. Photos: Leave old photo albums around, or make an album featuring your loved one. Before you know it you’ll be reminiscing and telling stories with family and friends.
2. Get out the old home videos. Yes it can be emotional and painful, but it also might be comforting to see your loved one up on the TV screen.
3. Wrap up a few of your loved one’s old things and give them to family and friends who will appreciate them. Write a card letting them know why you chose to give them this particular item. They will love the gift and the sentiment.
4. You can create a special place for people to write down memories. Put out a marker and paper or plain wooden ornaments. Friends and family can hang the ornaments or leave the memories in an empty gift box. When everyone is gathered together, read the memories aloud.
5. Donate to a cause in your loved ones name. Try and choose a charity your loved one would have supported.
6. When you see a gift your loved one would have liked, go ahead and buy it. Donate it to a charity or give it to someone as gift.
7. Volunteer your time to others in need. You might choose a cause your loved one worked with or supported.
8. Light a candle in honor of your loved one. Leave it burning during days when you think you’ll miss them the most.
9. Invite your family and friends to a holiday potluck. Ask guests to make a dish that your loved one liked.
10. Buy or make a memorial ornament.
11. Use your loved one’s old recipe(s) to make holiday cookies or a holiday dinner.
12. Visit or spend time in a place where you feel close to your loved one. You could also spend time watching their favorite holiday movies or listening to their favorite holiday songs.
13. Take the trip you have been planning or dreaming about.
14. Give a framed photo of your loved one to people who also miss them.
15. Spend time talking about your loved one with family and friends. Express your feelings…cry if you need to.
16. Take care of yourself. Attend a workshop or support group for people dealing with a loss during the holidays. Remember that your loved one would have wanted you to have the support you need.
Unfortunately I’ve lost a lot of loved ones…family and friends. I think about them often. I’m always grateful that I believe in the hereafter and that someday I will reunite with my loved ones. For now, I choose to keep their memories alive and enjoy the loved ones who are here. I choose not to take them for granted and do my best to be present with them.
I wish you all peace and love during this wonderful season.