The holidays are fast approaching, and while it is a joyous wondrous time for many, it’s isn’t so jolly and or festive to others. The holidays are especially hard for people who are grieving the loss of loved ones during them. To them, the holidays are not quite the same without their deceased loved ones, and never will be again. I’m one of the people who will be grieving the loss of deceased family members during the holidays this year. Thanksgiving and Christmas have been especially hard and painful for me in the years since my mom and sister died. Thanksgiving was the last holiday I spent with my mom and my sister in different years, because they both died a week before Christmas a year and two days apart. They both loved the holidays before they got sick and died. I just loved spending the holidays and time with them. The holidays needn’t be a time that grieving people isolate themselves from the rest of the world though. Below are some tips that grieving people can use during the holidays to still enjoy the holidays while grieving their deceased loved ones.
- They can create new traditions in memory of their loved ones. This year, I’ll be doing something special to honor both my mom and my sister on their respective death days (December 17th and December 19th), instead of staying home and sulking in my grief and pain.
- They can remember that everyone won’t be grieving the same way that they are during the holidays, and that’s okay. Many of my family members weren’t as close to my mom and sister as I was, and didn’t know them the same way I did, so they won’t grieve for them the same way that I will, and that’s okay. Mother/daughter and sister bonds are special ones, and other people will not truly understand what losing one, the other, or both feel like until they lose their moms and or sisters.
- They can make a donation to a charity that was important to their loved ones. Every once in a while, I donate to a pancreatic cancer foundation and a heart failure foundation because my mom died of pancreatic cancer in 2017, while my sister died of congestive heart failure last year.
- They can pick a few special items that belonged to their family members and gift them to friends and family members of their deceased loved ones who would appreciate them. After my mom and sister died and I began to sort through their things, I gave away special items of theirs to friends and family members of theirs that I knew would cherish the items.
- They can skip holiday events if they are in holiday overload. If I get invited to an event during the holidays, I go by all means if I want to and am up to it. Yet, if I’m tired or start to become sad thinking about my mom and sister during the holidays, I know how to say no to invitations, stay home, and focus on myself and my emotions until I feel better, and that’s okay.
Happy November and Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!