Grief and the Holidays

With the holidays fast approaching, this is the time of year when many of us are hit with grief. That deep pit of sadness that keeps us from finding enjoyment in many things. Some will experience periods of crying, others are so depressed and sad that they don’t want to get out of bed. Doesn’t seem to matter whether we’ve lost someone 20 years ago or 2 weeks ago. All it takes is a certain song or a smell or simply watching a movie on tv to trigger a memory. The holidays tend to increase our memories of those we have lost. It can even be hard for us to do things we usually enjoy such as listening to holiday songs, going to church, decorating our house, going to family gatherings or even baking those wonderful holiday treats.

One thing we all experiences is loss. For a child it may be the loss of a first pet. For adults it could be a grandparent, parent, sibling, good friend, child, spouse or pet. As we get older, we are almost guaranteed to experience some type of grief. There’s no way to stop it and there’s no easy way to get through it. Each person experiences grief in different ways. Some people are able to move on after a matter of weeks. For others, they are still hurting after 20 years. If you find yourself coping with grief throughout the year and not just on holidays and birthdays then perhaps it is time to talk about it with a professional. Grief counseling is an excellent way to begin the healing process.

Coping with grief isn’t always easy but there are things you can do. Allow yourself to be sad. We need to look back and remember those happy times we had. So many people in our lives help shape us into who we are today. Change your thoughts from negative ones to positive ones. Share stories from your past and find something funny to laugh about. Enjoy being around your family and if you don’t have family be with your friends. Do something to celebrate the person or animal who has passed. Donations in their name is an excellent tribute to them and their life.

Take time this holiday season to remember those we have loved and lost. Allow yourself to grieve. Allow yourself to laugh. The holidays bring forth so many feelings. Celebrate life, yours and theirs. Celebrate traditions, both new and old.