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Dealing with Loss During the Holidays

The loss of a loved one can be painful and especially difficult and overwhelming during the Holidays.  Not everyone grieves the same and as the Holidays approach emotions may be different for everyone in your circle of family and friends.

As you are surrounded by people most important to you, it will be even more apparent and serve as a reminder that someone is missing. This may be a pivotal point in your healing and mourning process.  How you experience and handle the huge task of facing special days without your loved one may affect you and others for years to come.  How your family and friends relate to one another will affect this process as well.

Try to look at how you will manage the Holidays ahead of time. Give yourself permission to do things differently or just the same depending on what seems most comforting. Keep tradition if that is what you want to do, but don't hold yourself to this if you want to make new traditions or choose to not celebrate at all this year. You can grieve in a positive manner even if others are choosing not to do so. 

Some people find it helpful to create a ritual in honor of the missing loved one.  Some ideas include:  

   • Donations to a charity in honor and memory of your loved one.   

   • Attend memorial services offered by churches and/or funeral homes that are remembering your loved one.  

   • Include a supportive friend in your holiday activities; someone who can listen and support you in the good days and days when you need to cry.   

   • Keep a journal and write your feelings and thoughts about all that is happening around you and within you.   

   • Write a letter to your loved one or pick out a card that you would have given to them. 

When children are involved here are a few suggestions:  

   • Don't pretend that everything is the same as it was.  

   • As feelings come up and questions are asked be honest, even if tears accompany the truth that life has been changed forever.  

   • Help them to remember good memories and partake in doing other suggested activities as age appropriate. 

To learn more about grief and loss or about Hospice Touch & Life Choices Palliative Care, Contact Tomah Hospice Touch at (608) 374-0250.