It’s that time of year again; Christmas is just a few days away. Saying that this Christmas will be difficult is a huge understatement for many of you because of the loss you have experienced this year. As a bereaved spouse, parent, sibling or child you will probably come to the conclusion that there are only two holiday seasons; the ones before and the ones after your loved one passed away. For some, this will be the second Christmas without your loved one. You may find that the numbness that cushioned you from reality last Christmas has worn off and it will seem even worse as you look at the empty chair or hear silence where there used to be laughter. It will be a confusing time…people may tell you to look for the happy moments and to grab ahold of them. And that might make sense but you will also think that you will feel guilty if you do manage to cope. Your head is going to tell you one thing and your heart is going to tell you another.
One thing that I learned last week at our seminar about Grieving Through The Holidays is that you need to be able to give yourself permission to do or not to do things over the holidays. If you can’t bring yourself to do something this year, that’s okay. And if you want to do something that keeps you connected to your loved one, that’s okay too. It’s a good thing to keep some traditions and to make new ones as well. Light a candle at the table…hang your loved one’s stocking in the traditional place…ask someone to decorate your tree for you.
And always remember that there is help from others who have experienced loss. One day a stranger may see you and say “I will walk with you” and he will because he has been this way before. You’ll talk and cry together and you will become friends like no other has. And then one day you will lift your head and you will notice someone else drawn with pain and you will approach that person and say “I will walk with you”…and you will. That may be the greatest gift of all.