Navigating Grief During the Holidays
By: Mary Jones- Director of Family Support Services
Is it 2022 yet? While the Christmas music and Hallmark movies illustrate the joys of the holiday season, it’s not all bright and cheerful for those grieving the death of someone loved. Hospice of St. Lawrence Valley encourages those grieving to have a plan. For those supporting a griever this year, we have included navigation tips for you as well.
If you are grieving this holiday season here are some navigation ideas:
- Keep it simple. Replicating the celebrations of previous holidays is exhausting.
- Decide before the holidays arrive what you want to do. You can choose to exchange gifts, make cookies, host dinners, or attend parties. Or choose to make a donation in your loved one’s name to their favorite charity, let go of the baking and decide to attend one party. It’s up to you!
- What is most important is to have a plan. Why, because the memories of holidays past will flood and overwhelm your grieving heart. The cookie ingredients display at the local grocery store will spin you around. The scent of Christmas trees will stop you in your tracks with a holiday memory.
- Many have tried to “wing it” and it made the grief more overwhelming.
- Develop a plan for each holiday with your family. Share with them what you can do and can’t bear to do. And move forward.
- Create a memory table. Include pictures, favorite items of your loved one. Include a candle to light in their memory on each holiday.
- This is one holiday season; you have permission to change or adapt holiday traditions to meet your needs.
- Be gentle and kind to yourself.
If you are supporting a griever this holiday season keep in mind:
- There are no lights, presents or parties that will help them forget or get over the death of their loved one.
- Check-in with your griever. Offer a list of specific things you can do for them and ask them to pick one or two. If they turn you down give them a raincheck for another time. Please don’t ask them to call you if they need anything. They want their loved one back; plain and simple.
- Share your own memories of their loved one, engage them in a conversation about these memories.
- Invite them to your party with no expectations.
- Don’t try to fix this grief and don’t tell them what they should be doing this holiday to get over their grief.
Navigating the holidays are part of the grief journey. It’s going to look, feel, taste, smell different; but then everything is different, and it is survivable.
For a list of support services and video resources, visit our website www.hospiceslv.org