They’re coming fast, and if you are grieving, you’re probably feeling different. Maybe you feel scared, or edgy, or like hiding in a dark hole, or like shouting at everyone who has the audacity to be celebrating, or … (fill in the blank). There’s no cookie-cutter standard, but lots of people feel out of sorts during this time. You might wish you could just make it all go away – hide until it’s over – but that’s almost impossible because the signs of celebration are everywhere. You might experience an aching dissonance: how can all this “joyful noise” go on, when your beloved is not here? It could feel like the celebrations are cruel and insensitive, next to your own sorrow, loss, yearning, and maybe even despair. On the other hand, you may feel unexpected joy and delight, even in the face of your loss, which can bring about its own kind of confusion. I want you to know that all these feelings are normal.
I encourage you to allow this year to be different. Pay attention to exactly what is true for you, expressing your grief just as it is, letting it be exactly as big as it is, and not making it any bigger. Shoot for authenticity. This could be a unique opportunity to drop underneath some of the traditions and expectations, exploring the depths of what is truly meaningful to YOU. Use this season as a way to honor your love and loss, in your own unique ways.
There’s no point pretending it’ll be easy, but it can help, just a little, to prepare yourself for the ups and downs of the season. I’m inserting links below to a few items that might help.
Something to remember: grief during the holidays – just like any other time – is different for everyone. Something that is super-painful for you could seem like it’s a breeze for someone else. Please try not to compare yourself to anyone else. Keep in mind that how you face the holidays is part of your process. If you have responsibilities or obligations that you have to fulfill, I invite you to see if you can minimize them. Find ways to be true to your own needs and authentic experience. No one can know exactly what’s going on inside of you. Give yourself the gift of being your own guide.
So – the holidays are likely to be different this year. You are different, too. Rest assured that you will get through the holidays. Who knows, you might even find new ways to enjoy them and make them meaningful. My wish for you, this year, is unexpected and unprecedented peace and beauty, even though everything is exactly the way it is.
Please check out the links below – my hope is that you will find at least a small nugget that is helpful.
Coping with Holidays and Other Celebrations after a Loss
Grief Holiday Worksheet
Grief A Holiday Checklist