The holidays can be a difficult time for people dealing with grief. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, Ramadan, Kwanza and New Year’s Day are annual holidays that can be a very difficult time for people who have experienced the death of someone loved. Memories of good times and togetherness at the holiday season serve to remind us of our loss. Watching others who are feeling thankful and are celebrating when we feel overwhelmed, lonely or sad can be very painful. Holidays force us to realize how much our lives have been changed by the loss of our loved one. Particularly in the first year, many bereaved are left with having to develop new holiday rituals and traditions. TRU Community Care Hospice is holding a Lights of Life Holiday service this weekend (please get details from this link.)Tommi McHugh, the grief coordinator at TRU Community Care Hospice says there are things that can be done to help people struggling with grief at this time of year. She offers these tips:
Acknowledge that this year will be different. Eliminate whatever you need to and realize there is nothing you must do. Grief depletes energy and because of this, the simplest tasks may seem insurmountable. Realize that you don’t have to accept every or any holiday party invitation.
Decide ahead of time how you want to spend the holidays – you may choose to be with family or alone, to go out of town or stay home with movies.
Do things that feel right for you – not because your loved one would have wanted it that way or because your family thinks you should.
Give yourself permission to change whatever traditions or rituals that you need to change.
Break the silence about your loved one – so others know it is OK to talk about them with you.
Memorialize your loved one in some way that is both important to you and would have meaning for him/her.
TRU Care are offering a variety of support groups to help people coping with the holidays and this weekend they are hosting two Lights of Life Holiday Remembrance Services. On Saturday at 5pm at the Plaza Conference Center in Longmont and on Sunday at 5pm at the East Boulder Senior Center.