GRIEF & THE HOLIDAYS

December 1, 2017

GRIEF & THE HOLIDAYS

“Holidays are time spent with loved ones” was imprinted on our psyche from a young age. Holidays mark the passage of time in our lives. They are part of the milestones we share with each other and they generally represent time spent with family. They bring meaning to certain days and we bring much meaning back to them. But since holidays are for being with those we love the most, how on earth can anyone be expected to cope with them when a loved one has died? For many people, this is the hardest part of grieving, when we miss our loved ones even more than usual.How can you celebrate togetherness when there is none? When you have lost someone special, your world losses its celebratory qualities. Holidays only magnify the loss. The sadness feels sadder and the loneliness goes deeper. The need for support may be the greatest during the holidays. Pretending you don’t hurt and or it is not a harder time of the year is just not the truth for you. If it wasn’t harder you probably wouldn’t be here. You can and will get through the holidays. Rather than avoiding the feelings of grief, lean into them. It is not the grief you want to avoid, it is the pain. Grief is the way out of the pain. There are a number of ways to incorporate your loved one and your loss into the holidays.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, New Years

These are the biggest and usually most challenging of all. You can and will get through the Holidays. Rather than avoiding the feelings of grief, lean into them. It is not the grief you want to avoid, it is the pain. Grief is the way out of the pain. Grief is our internal feelings and mourning is our external expressions.

Ways to externalize the loss – give it a time and a place

 A prayer before the Holiday dinner, about your loved one. Light a candle for your loved one. Create an online tribute for them. Share a favorite story about your loved one. Have everyone tell a funny story about your loved one. At your place of worship remember them in a prayer. Chat online about them.

Ways to Cope

Have a Plan A/Plan B – Plan A is you go to the Thanksgiving, Christmas Day or Christmas Eve dinner with family and friends. If it doesn’t feel right, have your plan B ready. Plan B may be a movie you both liked or a photo album to look through or a special place you went to together. Many people find that when they have Plan B in place, just knowing it is there is enough.

Cancel the Holiday all together. Yes, you can cancel the Holiday. If you are going through the motions and feeling nothing, cancel them. Take a year off. They will come around again. For others, staying involved with the Holidays is a symbol of life continuing. Let the Holiday routine give you a framework during these tough times.

Try the Holidays in a new way. Grief has a unique way of giving us the permission to really evaluate what parts of the Holidays you enjoy and what parts you don’t. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to handle the Holidays in grief. You have to decide what is right for you and do it. You have every right to change your mind, even a few times. Friends and family members may not have a clue how to help you through the Holidays and you may not either.

It is very natural to feel you may never enjoy the Holidays again. They will certainly never be the same as they were. However, in time, most people are able to find meaning again in the traditions as a new form of the Holiday Spirit grows inside of them. Even without grief, our friends and relatives often think they know how our Holidays should look, what “the family” should and shouldn’t do.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do be gentle with yourself and protect yourself.Don’t do more than you want, and don’t do anything that does not serve your soul and your loss.Do allow time for the feelings.Don’t keep feelings bottled up. If you have 500 tears to cry don’t stop at 250.Do allow others to help. We all need help at certain times in our lives.Don’t ask if you can help or should help a friend in grief. Just help. Find ways; invite them to group events or just out for coffee.Do, in grief, pay extra attention to the children. Children are too often the forgotten grievers.

Valentines Day

Valentines Day is a day to honor our spouse, girlfriend / boyfriend or anyone we are romantically involved with in the present. The past can represent a hole in your heart where your loved one used to be.

Tips
  • Write a love letter
  • Smile a smile for them
  • Light a red candle
  • Tell someone about them.

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day

Mother and Fathers Day are often thought of as an invisible sad day of mourning while many people are rushing around trying to get that perfect gift or make sure they remember to send mom / dad a card. There are over one hundred million Americans that for them, this is a sad day. Either because they have a mother or father who has died or a child has died.

Tips
  • Find ways to honor and remember your mother/ father or both.Think of ways to honor your child.
  • Light a candle
  • Say a prayer
  • Donate time or money in their name.
  • Do something you loved to do together on that day.

It isn’t as important how you remember, you honor them by the fact that you remember.

Just Remember

Holidays are clearly some of the roughest terrain we navigate after a loss. The ways we handle them are as individual as we are. What is vitally important is that we be present for the loss in whatever form the holidays do or don’t take. These holidays are part of the journey to be felt fully. They are usually very sad, but sometimes we may catch ourselves doing okay, and we may even have a brief moment of laughter. You don’t have to be a victim of the pain or the past. When the past calls, let it go to voice mail…it has nothing to say. You don’t have to be haunted by the pain or the past. You can remember and honor the love. Whatever you experience, just remember that sadness is allowed because death, as they say, doesn’t take a holiday.

Even without grief, our friends and relatives often think they know how our holidays should look, what the family should and shouldn’t do. Now more than ever, be gentle with yourself. Don’t do more than you want, and don’t do anything that does not serve your soul and your loss.

Written on
November 29, 2017

Continue reading...

More from our Blog:

Daylight Savings 2018: When do US clocks go forward and why do we have it?

Daylight Savings 2018: When do US clocks go forward and why do we have it?

Read Post
Five St. Patrick’s Day Safety Tips

St. Patrick’s day calls for drinks with friends, a heap of green, and a healthy dose of responsibility. With that formula and the above tips, you can make March 17 a greater and safer night out for you and your loved ones.

Read Post
Diabetes Alert Day March 27 2018

American Diabetes Association Diabetes Alert Day ®, observed annually on the 4th Tuesday in March, is a 1-day wake-up call to inform the American public about the seriousness of diabetes, particularly when diabetes is left undiagnosed or untreated. Diabetes Alert Day 2018 will be observed on Tuesday, March 27.

Read Post
The Four Most Dangerous Holiday Driving Hazards

Whether it’s making a “Merry Christmas!” phone call from behind the wheel, rushing to the next holiday party or indulging in some rum eggnog prior to hitting the road, here are some of the most dangerous behaviors drivers exhibit during the holiday season.

Read Post
Christmas tree and decoration fires

Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious. Carefully decorating your home can help make your holidays safer.

Read Post
Protecting Your Family AMERICA'S OPIOID EPIDEMIC

Opioid pain-killers and drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in the United States.

Read Post
Officials warn about carbon monoxide as residents turn on heaters

If you suspect you home may have carbon monoxide, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Read Post
Five Safety Tips for Deep Frying Turkey

Fried turkeys are delicious, but they come with a slew of safety issues. Thousands of fires as well as many deaths and injuries happen each year due to turkey fryer fires. Before you set up your turkey fryer this Thanksgiving, remember these safety tips.

Read Post
The theme of World Diabetes Day 2017 is Women and diabetes - our right to a healthy future.

All women with diabetes require affordable and equitable access to care and education to better manage their diabetes and improve their health outcomes.

Read Post
Vaccine Effectiveness - How Well Does the Flu Vaccine Work?

The large numbers of flu-associated illnesses and deaths in the United States, combined with the evidence from many studies that show flu vaccines help to provide protection, support the current U.S. flu vaccination recommendations. It is important to note, however, that how well flu vaccines work will continue to vary each year, depending especially on the match between the flu vaccine and the flu viruses that are spreading and causing illness in the community, as well as the characteristics of the person being vaccinated.

Read Post
Fire Prevention Week October 8-14 2017

Fire Prevention WeekIn a fire, seconds count. Seconds can mean the difference between residents of our community escaping safely from a fire or having their lives end in tragedy. That’s why this year’s Fire Prevention Week theme: “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” is so important. It reinforces why everyone needs to have an escape plan. Here’s this year’s key campaign messages:

Read Post
2017 National Seasonal Preparedness

Download the Ready 2017 National Seasonal Preparedness Messaging Calendar (PDF) Download the Ready 2017 National Seasonal Preparedness Messaging Calendar (JPEG)

Read Post
10 Driving Safety Tips For A Happy Halloween

Halloween is a holiday that children and adults alike can enjoy. Who doesn’t love costumes, candy, and scary stories? But Halloween can also be a very dangerous time to be a driver and a pedestrian. If you have to drive this Halloween, follow these driving safety tips.

Read Post
Halloween Health and Safety Tips

Fall celebrations like Halloween and Harvest Day are fun times for children, who can dress up in costumes, enjoy parties, and eat yummy treats. These celebrations also provide a chance to give out healthy snacks, get physical activity, and focus on safety.

Read Post
When & How to Wash Your Hands

Keeping hands clean through improved hand hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. If clean, running water is not accessible, as is common in many parts of the world, use soap and available water. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to clean hands.When should you wash your hands?

Read Post
Concussion Safety

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth.

Read Post
Bullying: What Schools, Parents and Students Can Do

According to the FBI, “Bullying remains one of the largest problems in schools, with the percentage of students reportedly bullied at least once per week steadily increasing since 1999.” Additionally, cyberbullying has become more rampant and has contributed to the suicides of multiple children. The Internet has unleashed meanness to a degree unseen before. Thanks to the accessibility to the Internet and the affordability of new technology, bullies now have multiple ways to harass their victims. The current generation has the added ability to use technology to expand their reach and the extent of their attacks exponentially.

Read Post
BACK TO SCHOOL SAFETY

As summer draws to a close and children start heading back to school, family life can get pretty hectic. It's important to remember – and share with your children – some key tips that will help keep them safe and healthy throughout the school year.

Read Post
Dog Days of Summer - Are you aware of Heat related issues?

For more information, read the Red Cross Heat Wave Safety Checklist. Tags: Heat, Health & Safety.

Read Post
Come Visit Nottingham Ambulance Squad at National Night Out Tuesday August 1, 2017

We have many opportunities for membership, including contributing members and active riding members. If you are interested in joining, please visit our website and complete the membership application.

Read Post
Summer Vacation Safety

As the warm weather approaches and thoughts turn to getting away for a few days, being safe while on summer vacation helps ensure that you and your loved ones only have good memories of your time away from home. There are many things you can do to keep yourself, your family and your valuables safe.

Read Post
Insect Sting Allergy Treatment

Call 911If the person does have severe allergy symptoms (anaphylaxis): Seek emergency care if the person has any of these symptoms or a history of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis), even if there are no symptoms: Difficulty breathing or wheezingTightness in the throat or a feeling that the airways are closingHoarseness or trouble speaking Nausea, abdominal pain, or vomitingFast heartbeat or pulseSkin that severely itches, tingles, swells, or turns redAnxiety or dizzinessLoss of consciousness

Read Post
Nottingham Ambulance Squad answered 50 calls for service in March 2017 logging 504 volunteer hours

Nottingham Ambulance Squad answered 50 calls for service in March 2017 logging 504 volunteer hours

Read Post