Coping With Loss During the Holidays

dreamstimefree_606621Yesterday when I turned on the radio in my car, I was greeted by non-stop Christmas music on every one of my favorite stations!  Ready or not, it appears the Christmas season is upon us.  The approaching Holidays hold excitement and joy for many; however, for those who have experienced the recent loss of a loved one, the Holidays can be heavy-hearted, trying times.

If you are grieving the loss of someone dear to you, here are some recommendations from GriefNet, a national grief support organization, to help you cope during the upcoming season.

  1. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to grieve.  Do whatever brings you comfort or peace throughout the day.
  2. Plan to be with the people YOU enjoy.
  3. Don’t be afraid to express your feelings.  Allow others to comfort you.
  4. Donate a gift or money in your loved one’s name.  Hang a stocking for your loved one in which people can put notes with their thoughts or feelings.
  5. Keep in mind the feelings of your children or family members.  Negotiate your plans together, so that everyone’s needs are taken into account.
  6. Do something for others; volunteer at a soup kitchen; ask someone who is alone to share the day with your family, or volunteer at the airport to pour coffee for stranded travelers.

How can I help?

If you have a friend or family member who has lost someone recently,  you are undoubtedly wanting to help.  Here are a few specific ways to support those you care about as they grieve.

  1. Listen.  No less an author than Shakespeare wrote “Give sorrow words”.  Allowing your loved one to talk about their feelings will help them know they are cared for.
  2. Remember that Christians suffer, too.  Christ himself cried at the loss of his dear friend Lazarus.  To experience grief and despair is human. We are called on to know that God is present through it all, not that God is present to remove it all.
  3. Ask what your loved one needs.  We all walk through grief in our own way.  At times, your friend or family member may need to look forward and beyond, at other times, to remember and sorrow.  Don’t expect yourself to automatically or magically know what is needed.

For more resources on coping with grief and stress during the Holidays visit our About Us page.