Experiencing loss and grief is hard no matter what time of the year, but around Christmas it can become particularly tough, traditions that were once celebrated are now just unhappy reminders that your loved one is no longer with you.
“Grief is like the ocean, it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing.
Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming.
All we can do is learn to swim.”
We all deal with grief differently and there is no right or wrong way to grieve when you’ve experienced loss. During the holiday season you may find yourself reacting in unexpected ways.
These tips may help you to cope with the stages of grief at Christmas time:
- Start new Christmas traditions - Keeping up the traditions that you used to enjoy with your loved may be too much of a painful reminder. Starting new traditions with friends and family can help you through your grief and give you something positive to focus on.
- Accept that this time of year could be tough - The first year without your loved one can be especially difficult and for years after it still may be just as hard. By accepting that Christmas will be different and possibly not a fun time of year for you, you’re not putting pressure on yourself to feel like you need to have a good time.
- Speak to a counsellor - Often it really helps to speak a professional, an unbiased person who will listen. The NSW Bereavement Counselling Services have a directory of organisations you can call here.
For those that have a family member or friend going through the stages of grief, there are ways for you to help them get through this difficult time of year:
- Being social can be hard - Social situations for a grieving person can be especially tough during the holiday season, the last thing they may feel like doing is being jolly and bright. Invite them to get togethers but understand that it may just be too hard for them to attend. Remember that dealing with loss doesn’t always get easier, so don’t expect them to be fine if this isn’t their first year without their loved one.
- Acknowledge their loved one - Write a heartfelt card or make a donation in the loved one’s memory. Acknowledging those we have lost, helps to keep them near to us and your friend or family member may need that at Christmas.
- Ask how you can help get them through the holidays - Having open conversations with a family or friend who are going the stages are grief can be hard and overwhelming. But it may be just what they need. Ask them what you can do to help them at Christmas and honour whatever decisions they make for the day.
At Guardian Funerals we understand that coping with grief can be a daunting, difficult time in anyone's life. Feelings of loss and sadness may never go away, but with time the grief will lighten. If you’d would like further information on grief either for yourself or a loved one, please visit My Grief Assist.