Holidays bring memories from the past that remind survivors life has changed. Special days cannot be the same without those we long to see. Dealing with this during your grief is important. And while avoidance, is one way to handle holidays, it is almost impossible to avoid sights and sounds of the season. A better choice is to plan ways to face pain and deal with it.
One idea involves other people. If there are family members or friends you want to include in your plans or children you want to provide a somewhat normal holiday experience for, think about what would be comfortable for you. Perhaps you could hide Easter eggs for your grandchildren before Easter weekend. Or send greeting cards instead of hosting an extended family dinner.
Try something different from what you did before your loss. But it is also okay to find comfort in old traditions. Follow your heart, and you will find moments of peace. Whatever you decide, it is your decision. Others may mean well, but you are not obligated to do things that seem like too much. On the other hand, as time goes by, explore how you feel. You may change your mind and want to prepare food or enjoy a dinner hosted by a friend as you heal.
After each holiday, assess your reactions. You may need a day or two to rest, but take time at some point to write down how you handled the holiday, what you felt. and what you wish you had done differently. Use these notes the next time a holiday rolls around.
You can also include special ways to remember your loved one, either on your own or with others. A simple walk or candle lighting, a memorial project, or something else can help you honor the love you shared with that person. That love mattered, and it still exists.
Way for Hope
Losing someone you love is difficult, but it can mean a lot to hear from others traveling similar paths.
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Links of Value:
Alliance of Hope for Suicide Loss Survivors
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Word of God
"My Story" Big Daddy Weave
"Hope in Front of Me"
The Joy FM
Traumatic loss or preexisting conditions can worsen mental health. Use this info graphic to find help.
"Take Charge of Your Mental Health" - a free download from www.nami.org: