Losing a loved one is difficult at any time of year, but during the holidays, their presence is noticed and missed the most. The season is already full, hectic, and the holidays can get stressful. Coping with grief is a heavy burden to add on top of that.
Here are some tips from fellow moms for dealing with grief during the holidays.
Coping with Grief During the Holidays
Remembering your lost loved ones during the holidays
One special way to remember and honor a lost relative is to create a place seating for them during the holidays. If you have a loved one in Heaven, this sweet printable will help cope with the loss. It is a lovely Christmas in Heaven printable that you can frame and place near an empty chair at the table or maybe their favorite rocking chair.
You can also hang a stocking for your remembered loved one, or light a candle, or maybe hang a particular ornament. These are just some ways that a person who is no longer physically with us can be felt and remembered in the gathering as part of a family tradition.
Another lovely way to remember a missed loved one is to create a memorial website with Forever Missed. Forever Missed gives you a platform to create an online memorial webpage where family members and friends can pay homage to their lost loved one, while also helping each other to heal by sharing their feelings, warm memories, and words of support.
How to celebrate when you’re grieving
When dealing with the grief of a more private nature, such as infertility, perhaps turning down invitations to too many gatherings and maybe opening holiday card mail on days when you feel stronger would be better. Possibly reducing the time spent on social media to avoid seeing all those “baby’s first Chrismas” photos would be wise, helping to prevent grief triggers.
It is important to allow the feelings to have a voice. Don’t push them away and pretend all is well as grief cannot be denied. Try to remember to focus on gratitude and on the happy memories to help cope with the pain of loss.
You might not feel like celebrating, and that is perfectly acceptable. You don’t have to attend every party, engage in debates or arguments with every family member, or exchange gifts with everyone you know. Give yourself grace and permission to do what is right for you and your family.
Traditions are great, but you don’t have to follow them during hard times. It is fine to have a low-key holiday supporting the ones closest to you. Making new memories helps you heal, as well.
Helping family cope with grief during the holidays
When a close friend or relative is experiencing a loss, sometimes we don’t know the right thing to say. There are some things we shouldn’t say to our friends (such as “he is in a better place”) because they are not helping. Instead, words like “I am here for you” and “I know you miss him” are so much more meaningful.
You can also give a sympathy gift to help show your care and concern. Everyone processes grief differently, so the best thing we can do is be there for our friends and family and support them in whatever way we can.
Explaining death to children
Discussing death with children is not easy. The best way to address the loss of a loved one is to be honest, and straightforward, using simple age-appropriate language. Explain that we all live for a set amount of years, and eventually, everyone dies. You can be specific and say something like, “Nana’s body was sick, and she died” and that her memory will live in our hearts.
You can say that it is sad when someone dies and we will miss them very much. That it’s OK to be sad or scared, and feelings are valid and shared. If your family is religious, include related words and explanations.
Reading books about loss and memories of loved ones can help kids cope as well.
Do you have some tips for coping with grief during the holidays? Please share with us in the comments.