By now you have probably already had more than one grief burst triggered by the holidays. The sights, sounds, smells can set off a memory in an instant when you least expect it. You made it through Thanksgiving (Congratulations) and Christmas is everywhere! A Christmas song played innocently in a grocery store can take you to your knees. The sight of Christmas lights may make you pull over til you can safely drive again. The thought of putting up a tree or shopping may even make you sick at your stomach. Who knew the joy-filled holidays could hurt so much?
It can be incredibly painful to see everyone else look so happy when you’re world has been torn apart. Can’t they see you do not want to celebrate having Christmas without your loved one? Doesn’t anyone realize how immensely lonely you are—sometimes even in a large crowded room or even when you are gathered with dear friends and family. You’re loved one is not with you and the vacancy is so empty. It may be your first time to go through the holidays without them or your third. There’s just so much about Christmas that makes you miss them even more. Even twenty years later, you will find your heart filled with precious holiday memories from the past.
There’s a lot you can do to prepare for facing the holidays when you are still grieving so actively.
- Make a list of how you usually celebrate (Decorate, bake, shop, parties, dinner, etc)
- Decide what you can pare down to make it manageable in your vulnerable state.
- Ask others to help you if it is important to keep up a tradition
- Start a new tradition that honors your loved one (an ornament with their photo, candle…)
- Accept invitations, but let it be known you have no idea how you will feel that day.
- Leave yourself room to leave a party if you need to
- Talk about your loved one. Others are often afraid to cause you pain (You just want to hear their name again)
- Get a gift for your loved one and give it to someone who it will mean a lot to
- GO EASY on yourself. Don’t try to do everything you did before
- Celebrate JESUS who was born to bring true hope and eternal life to the broken-hearted. He will never ever leave you or forsake you. His presence will begin to heal and bring joy again.
***I’m hosting one more SURVIVING GRIEF THROUGH THE HOLIDAY sessions on Wednesday, Dec 12 from 1-2PM at North Side Christian Church, 2526 NW 122, Oklahoma City, OK (It goes far more in-depth than the above helps.)
***Give yourself or someone you know who is grieving a true gift that will help them write down their story, memories and find true hope in the adult or children’s versions of MY FOREVER MEMORIES OF YOU. If you see me, you can get one from me. It will help them work through grief long after the holidays are over.
Love and prayers,
“He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.” Isaiah 61:1
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” Luke 2:10 (This news of Jesus is especially good for the brokenhearted.)