“Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul, there is no separation” – Rumi
Decorations. caroling, shopping. After November has come and gone, the majority of people are preparing for the holiday season.
It can be easy to get caught up in all of the hustle and bustle, but it is important to remember that for some, the holidays can be difficult. For those coping with grief and loss, December doesn’t just mark a month of cheer, but a month of memories of those who have passed, and a whole new wave of grief.
Grief is difficult, and no one grieves the same way. Every journey through the grief process is unique, just as your relationship your loved one was unique. It is important to remember that what works for you may not work for others, and that is okay.
As the holiday season is beginning, the best way to cope with your grief is to communicate with your loved ones about it while holiday plans are being made. Set time aside to discuss your plan for the holidays and don’t be afraid to create new traditions that honor the person missing this year.
Things to Remember During the Holiday Season:
• Time doesn’t heal the pain associated with grief. It’s what you do with that pain that does.
• Give yourself permission to cut back on holiday decorations, preparations and gift-giving, especially if you feel those things will make it harder.
• Don’t be afraid to rethink traditions. Change the location of your gathering, ask someone else to host the holiday dinner, or treat yourself to a vacation.
• Remember it is okay to laugh and enjoy yourself. Your missing loved ones would want you to enjoythe season and time with others.
Six Helpful Tips for Coping During the Holiday Season:
1. Put out a “memory stocking,” “memory box,” a special place setting at the table, or another special memento.
2. Write down memories you treasure with your missing loved one, and pick a time to read them together with friends and family. This will allow you all to reminisce about the fun times with your loved one. Don’t be afraid to talk about the one who is missing. Odds are that other people want to talk about them too.
3. Spend the holidays somewhere different or with someone new. Perhaps even invite someone who doesn’t have any local family to spend the holidays with you.
4. Seek gratitude. Try to find one thing to be grateful for every day during the holiday season. Write them down daily in a “gratitude journal” that you can look back at later.
5. Ignore people who want to tell you what you “should” do for the holiday. Listen and trust yourself. You have the right to say no, and to do things differently if you wish.
6. Say yes to help. Don’t be afraid to rely on others during this difficult time. There are many different support systems and resources that can help with grief.
Gulfside’s Bereavement Team is here to help.
Grief never ends, because love never dies. While the holidays may be difficult to celebrate, we can still take time to reflect on the memories of our missing loved ones that we treasure. You can use this time to also reflect on how far you have come during the grieving process. The holidays are just another step in your journey. If you can conquer these moments, then you can conquer the rest as well. By listening to yourself and communicating with others, the holiday season will be easier and hopefully a little more cheerful.
Gulfside’s bereavement services are available to members of the community free of charge. Bereavement counselors are available to you either by phone, virtual conferencing (via Zoom), or an in-person meeting to help you cope with your grief. To schedule a time with one of Gulfside’s bereavement counselors, call 727-845-5707 or visit www.Gulfside.org/bereavement-services for helpful resources through our Grief Words Library.