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Coping with Loss During the Holidays, part 2

Posted on December 01, 2016

9. Make a new tradition. Find a unique way to remember your loved one. Maybe have a special ornament or you can light a special candle or plan on planting a tree in the spring. One family who had a 13 year old child die remembered him by purchasing Christmas gifts for other needy children around that age and they continue to do that in his memory each year.

 10. Be patient with yourself. The death of a loved one usually affects our sleep and eating patterns. Your energy level may be lower and your health may be challenged.

though you get nothing done during the day. Respect what your body and mind are telling you. Be realistic about your expectations and leave the words “ought” and “should” out of your vocabulary.

11. Cry, but continue on with the holiday. Grief therapist, Darcie Sims has a motto, “Cry when you must and laugh when you can.” Have plenty of tissues to help you through those periods. One widow said that if she allowed herself to cry when the tears came she was then ready to go on again until the next teary session hit her. Let the tears of sadness come and go but not stop you. They are a natural emotion and when you freely express them they might actually make you feel better.

 12. Have a family sharing time this holiday season and include your loved one’s name in your family conversations. They will undoubtedly be on everyone’s mind and it is good to share your memories. If you are able to talk openly with others, your family will be encouraged to do the same. Grief shared is grief diminished. Keep your memories alive and close to your heart.

 13. Think of all the gifts your loved one has given you…joy, laughter, companionship, love, etc. Try writing these gifts on strips of paper. Put them in a gift box or place them in a stocking or decorate the tree with them. You could make a memory book that would be a comfort all year round. Whatever choice you make, you will be celebrating the gift of your loved one and their life on earth.

 14. Plan something you can look forward to after the holidays in the dreary winter months of January and February. Looking forward can help lessen the post-holiday let down and can be a reward to you for getting through the holidays. Choose between yesterday and tomorrow. You can focus on things the way they used to be or you can look forward to new opportunities. While we can’t control everything in our lives we can choose the direction we are going to take.

 15. Embrace your faith. Everyone has differing faith traditions, but the loss of a love is an universal event and your faith can help provide comfort in a time of loss. Prayer and introspection can be powerful tools to overcome life’s difficulties. Whatever your faith tradition, God is walking with you, so don’t be afraid to talk to him.

 We have talked about a lot of different ways to help cope with loss during the holiday season. There is one important thing to always remember: you are grieving because you have loved. I don’t know a single person who would give up the pain of their loss if it meant giving up the joy of having loved.

 Let the joy of your loved one’s life take the place of the hurt caused by their death. They lived, we loved, and we still do. Live through the hurt so joy can return and warm your heart.

 May the holidays be wondrous for you and your family. May you find the gifts of joy and remembrance that come with love that is given and received. These truly are the treasures of life.

William E. Judd, Jr., Funeral Director

Please join us for our holiday program, “Remembering through the Holidays” on Tuesday, December 6.

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