Coping with grief is hard. Coping with grief during the holidays can be even harder. Whether you are someone dealing with grief or helping a loved one deal with their grief, it is important to know that every feeling is okay, emotions do not need to be hidden. No matter when the loss has occurred, whether it be years ago or days ago, the holidays can be a time that grief is very evident.
Understand the grieving process
The grieving process has no time limit, every person goes through the process at a different rate. There are 5 stages of grief we go through when loss occurs in our lives. The stages can be different for every individual, but understand these feelings are completely normal and you are entitled to all of them. The stages are:
Don’t be afraid to talk about it
Talking to your family and friends about your grief when they are not feeling the same emotions can be hard. Sometimes they may not know how to talk to you and that makes it harder to approach someone. More often than not, someone talking to a person in the grieving process will try to avoid saying the name of the deceased or avoid telling stories that have anything to do with them. This is not what someone grieving wants. It can really help for others to acknowledge what has happened to bring you closer to accepting your loss.
Allow yourself to feel emotions
Know that every emotion you are feeling is part of the grieving process and completely warranted. Pushing away these feelings whether it’s anger, sadness, or guilt know that they are all there to bring you closer to accepting the loss that you have endured. During the holidays it is okay if you need to step out, take a break or cut visits short because you are feeling an overwhelming amount of emotions. Just remember that it is normal to feel this way.
Honor the memories
The holidays are a time to remember past holidays and reminisce with loved ones. It is good to remember the time you had with them, it is also a great idea to make a holiday monument to respect their memory. Sometimes making an ornament, wreath or other decoration that you can put up in your home can help you feel like they are still there with you over the holiday season. Don’t hold back on telling stories that include whomever you are grieving, this can help you feel more joy about their memory.