Tips for Dealing with Holiday Grief from Hospice
For those who grieve, the holidays may not hold happy anticipation. Rather, the need to grieve and the pressure to “get in the holiday spirit” often brings dread. While grieving is natural, it is hard work and it can be difficult to hold in balance both grief and joy. Listed below are a few tips to keep in mind for helping both yourself and others.
• Reflect. What will be difficult this year? Create a plan that will help you cope with that particular time or occasion. For example, if it is difficult go shopping, ask a friend or family member to go with you, or do your shopping online this year. Asking for help is not always easy, but others want to help and they do not always know what to do for you. Who knows? It might turn out to be just the connection you need. Instead of avoiding your feelings, attempt to bless your pain, your guilt, and your sadness…you hurt because you loved.
• Redefine. Make some new traditions, keep some old, or tweak some old ones to recreate something different this year. For example, if you have always given away homemade candy as gifts to friends, this year you might give away your loved one’s favorite cookies, along with the recipe; instead of putting up a large tree, buy a tabletop tree and simplify your decorating.
• Remember. Develop rituals that encourage yourself and others to remember your loved one. For example, share stories from past holidays; light a new candle and make it the special candle that will be lit annually in memory of your loved one—light it daily and spend a few moments in quiet reflection; hang a special ornament for your loved one; donate money, clothing or food in memory of your loved one or in the memory of another’s loved one.
• Remind. Remind the grieving person that they are not alone, and that you are thinking of them and their loved one who died. There is no doubt that they will feel alone, especially during the holidays. Phone calls, cards, having coffee…the simplest gesture will not go unforgotten.
• Recommend. Listen to others, do not give advice. Offer to help with baking, shopping, sharing a meal or a walk. If a person wanst to be alone, let them have their decision and their space. We do not know what someone else is experiencing, even when we, ourselves, have had a death in our lives. Your presence and your listening ear is the best gift you can offer to someone during this season of their lives.
For more information, contact Regina Easley-Young at hospice, (828) 452-8811, or email@example.com.