It can be difficult enough to just survive the holiday season, but add in a little or a whole lot of grief and our hearts can easily become two sizes too small.
Grieving during the holiday season can be extremely isolating.
In all seriousness, getting through our first holiday season, or any holiday season without your loved one can feel almost impossible. Your mind and heart can be filled with the most precious and painful memories that exist for you.
You may be feeling guilt for enjoying the season for a moment or guilt for not enjoying the season at all.
Both are okay.
You are likely going through so many different and difficult emotions, it can be hard to do anything but make it through the next five minutes. We wanted to share with you a few ideas to help you get through this tough season.
We truly hope they provide some relief for you.
- Find some sort of community.
If you have ever been to our support group you will hear me say,
“Grief begs for isolation but thrives in community.”
It is the basis of why we have implemented our support group. We truly believe that community heals. We want you to be surrounded by like-minded people who can share and validate your experience. If you cannot make it to our support group we can provide you with a list of other groups that meet in the area.
Our Support Group meets on Thursday at 1:30 @ The Retreat in the Conference room.
- Make a plan.
We encourage you to sit and think about any traditions that you might want to share with others this year. There may be some you just might want to skip over until it feels right again, that is absolutely okay. Some families prefer to keep their traditions for the year while some prefer to take the year off them. We have even heard of families that decided to rent a beach out or a house in the mountains for the year for a change in scenery.
- Prepare for secondary losses.
The website Refuge in Grief defines secondary losses as:
“Death does not just create a single hole in one’s life. Instead, the loss can impact many areas of one’s life, creating multiple losses from that “primary loss.” Though it is easy to think that our grief is solely the grief of losing the person we cared for so deeply, our grief is also the pain of the other losses that were a result of the death. You will hear these losses referred to as “secondary losses,” not in the sense that their impact is secondary, but rather that they are a secondary result of the primary loss.”
There can be so many secondary losses that are highlighted during this difficult season, just having a name for them can give us some relief from the pain.
Grief is not only related to death, we can grieve so many other losses after we lose our person. You have been through a traumatic experience, allow yourself some space for that.
- Integrate your deceased loved one whenever you are able.
There are so many creative ways to integrate your loved one into the holiday season:
– Make a donation to a charitable cause in their memory
– Leave them a seat at the table with their name on a name card.
– Go around at each celebration and share your favorite memory about your loved one.
– Do a balloon, confetti, or lantern release as a family
– Make their favorite dish or sing their favorite Christmas song together.
– Keep a candle lit in your home in memory of them.
5. Schedule some me time.
There can be a pull for staying busy during the holiday season. Take some time to rest when you can. It can be easy to overcompensate for grief by trying to stay busy. We want to encourage you to take some time for yourself and engage in some self-care, start small and take baby steps toward healing this holiday season.
- Give yourself grace!!!!!
Let go of the pressure to be anything but what you are and how you feel this holiday season. Please reach out to us if you need someone to talk to. Grief is one of the most difficult things we experience as humans. We want to support you however you will allow.
We are having a Christmas Party on December 22 at 1:30, if you are hesitant about joining group this is a great day to feel it out and see what you think without the pressure of sharing.
We would love to see you there.
The Retreat Hospice by Saad
1515 B. S. University Blvd
Mobile, AL 36609
-The Retreat Bereavement Team