The holiday season is a time for loved ones and families to come together and celebrate. It canalso however be a time that brings back painful memories of loss and bereavement. To help those who have suffered loss orbereavement , here is some basic advice on dealing with grief, loss and bereavement this holiday season:
- Grief can start before someone dies. Just like palliative care, grief can start as soon as a loved one is diagnosed with a life-limiting illness. It is important to give yourself time and space to experience this grief rather than trying to “appear strong” for your loved one.
- Seek and accept support. You need the support and care of others. Call on a trusted family member or friend, church clergy, hospice worker or professional counsellor. There is no shame in asking for help during the seasonal holidays.
- Stop comparisons. Try not to compare your situation to previous holidays – it won’t be the same. Equally, seeing other families together and enjoying the festivities may make you feel down. Keep in mind that the holidays are stressful for most families and are rarely the magical gatherings that people like to think of them as. Try to embrace what you have rather than compare it to what you think you should have.
- Offer yourself some space and grace. Make sure you give yourself some space to grieve. If you need to allow some time to be sad before heading out to meet friends and family. Give yourself permission to feel whatever it is your feeling.
- Expect the unexpected. The holiday season is filled with traditions. Be mindful that some of these traditions will have to change with the loss of a loved one. Be optimistic though, you have the power to decide how things change.