The first holiday after losing a loved one can be a painful reminder of someone who isn’t with you anymore. People may be conflicted between the need to grieve and the pressure to get into the holiday spirit.
Hospice Care of South Carolina employees for some tips on getting through the holidays while grieving:
1. Have a family holiday conference, make plans ahead of time
2. Lower expectations
3. Shop smart
4. Don’t buy into holiday myths
5. Do something symbolic
6. Don’t try doing everything yourself
7. Concentrate on the true meaning of the holiday
8. Ask for what you need from others
9. Reach out to help others
10. Read for encouragement
11. Be patient with yourself
12. Cry but get on with the holidays
13. Let your limits be known
14. Remember, it’s OK to have joy at the holidays
15. Finally, anxious anticipation is worse than holiday
While I realize everyone grieves differently, I can attest to #15 after my mother died.
She died in July, and in the weeks leading up to that December, I worried incessantly about my dad, whether or not to keep our same traditions and what it was going to be like in general.
I hated that I had such a sense of dread, but when the time finally arrived things were certainly different than they had been before, but everyone just adapted without a lot of fuss and I had worried needlessly.
One thing I did make sure we did was add a new tradition to the season to have something to focus on. It brought a freshness to our season while still respecting what we had always done.