Surviving the Holidays
Coping with grief during the holidays, especially Christmas, is difficult for anyone who has lost a loved one.
Christmas usually symbolizes a time to be with family and those you love. But, If you have lost a loved one due to illness or by suicide, Christmas can be an even more challenging time of year.
Why Is It So Hard?
One reason is because it is literally the end of the year. We take the holiday season to be around family and friends. And… if you aren’t wanting to be around those you love because of the loss, you might feel torn between keeping the same family traditions as you did prior to your loved one’s passing?
I know for our family, when we approached our first Christmas without our sister Gina, it was especially difficult.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Do we still celebrate Christmas this year when all we wanted to do was simply cry? Or, do we exchange gifts?
What if there are some family members that you would rather not see?
What if they ask how you are doing?
How do you respond?
Should you keep it “short and sweet”? Or,
Do you be brutally honest and tell the truth about how you have been feeling?
Let me answer these few questions now:
- Keeping family traditions: this is completely up to you and if you are feeling like you would like to still do a family tradition or not. Plans can change. Be flexible. Be gentle with yourself either way.
- Do we exchange gifts: my sister was newly divorced so this question didn’t necessarily apply to our circumstance for the holiday gift exchange. But I still looked at the Christmas gift that I had given her the Christmas prior with fondness and joy.
- There are people you’d rather not see: Remember the holidays are completely up to you! You get to choose and decide how you want to spend them. Period.
- What if they ask how you’re doing, how should you respond: Again, I think honesty is the “best” policy. Just because someone might not like the response, then quite frankly tell them to NOT ASK THE QUESTION then.
Please remember this one thing: Christmas is entirely up to you. You can choose how you want to spend them.
What I Learned After Our First Christmas Without My Sister
What I learned after we came to our first Christmas without my sister was…that I didn’t have to answer to anyone about how I was going to spend my Christmas holiday.
If I wanted to find ways to incorporate my sister’s memory into it or not?
Celebrate it or not at all?
All of these tiny decisions were mine.
Don’t Worry We Celebrated Christmas
But as a side note, my daughter would be heartbroken if I didn’t celebrate Christmas. Remember, she was 3 at the time of my sister’s passing…
So of course, we celebrated Christmas and had a wonderful holiday. I still found ways to remember my sister too.
A Few Ways To Bring Their Memory Into the Holiday Season
Some of the ways that you can bring their memory into the holiday season are:
- Donating to a charity that your loved one supported or would’ve enjoyed supporting
- Doing a bake sale and donating the proceeds to a local family in your loved ones name
- Inviting a family or friends over to celebrate Christmas because they don’t have friends or family nearby to celebrate Christmas with
- Finding something that your loved one enjoyed doing
- Talking with your family about the fond memories of your loved one.
- The sky really is the limit here in all the ways that you can incorporate your loved ones’ memories into the Christmas season…
In fact, we created a special download to serve as a reminder for you that as we approach the Christmas season, to be sure to find your version of peace this holiday. You can get it by sending us an email with the subject line “peace for Christmas” and we would love to send it to you.
Wishing you peace this holiday season.