A time of wonderful celebrations, lots of yummy food, endless preparations, and spending time with our nearest and dearest. But for some of us, Christmas can also be a difficult time, especially when it may be the first Christmas after the loss of a dear loved one.
Whether it’s a grandparent, a parent, a child, a sibling or a close friend, Christmas can be the time when many memories come alive, of what it used to be like when they were around, or of past family celebrations when they were still here.
So how do we cope?
Of course, it can de different for everyone but some of the following suggestions may help in some small way to remember that missing person, albeit through misty eyes.
SOME HELPFUL HINTS
1. Acknowledge it will be tough
It’s very important to realise that it is going to be a tough time. The holiday season will be different and things will be tough.
2. Keep Some Traditions Alive.
This is our first year without my beautiful Mum. But we have already started preparations, ensuring we have a bowl of Jaffa’s ready for the Christmas table as Mum did every year.
3. Create a new tradition.
In memory of your missing loved one, create a new tradition. Light a candle, look at some happy photos, tell others of a happy memory you shared. Don’t be afraid to shed a tear, but also be grateful for the time you had with them and try to focus on that.
4. Don’t be a martyr.
You don’t have to hold it in. People cannot read your mind, and your true friends will want to help and support you. And know that the first Christmas without your loved one, will be the worst.
5. Do try to have fun.
Think if your loved one would have wanted you to have fun. I know my beautiful Mum would have wanted us to enjoy the day, have lots of fun, and enjoy being in each other’s company.
6. We all grieve differently
Children and young people tend to express grief differently than adults. Children may go in and out of the grieving process and may also become angry, or restless. Often sleeping and eating patterns can also change. It’s important to explain to the children how you feel, and that it is not their fault if you feel sad or angry. And importantly, that it is OK for the children to feel mixed emotions also, excited at opening presents and then feeling sad at being happy. Remind them that feeling happy doesn’t mean their profound sense of loss is diminished in any way.
Lastly, this is a poem I found that was quite touching for my own personal journey with loss.
A Special Poem to Help With Grief
You can shed tears that he is gone
Or you can smile because he lived
You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him
Or you can be full of the love that you shared
You can turn your back on tomorrow and love yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday
You can remember him and only that he is gone
Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn back
Or you can do what he would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on