A few weeks ago we wrote about being prepared for the ‘silly season’. While for most Christmas is a time for festivity, for many it can be a challenging time if it’s your first year without someone who has died, or you were bereaved long ago.
Already you may be feeling the dread of wondering how you are going to get through it. One of the things that can help, is to spend some time trying to work out in advance which arrangements will best suit your needs and the needs of others who share your loss.
Let’s call it off
Many people suffering bereavement want to just call the whole thing off, but feel they can’t because of children or other family members. Think about what is best for you and your family. Some may feel that celebrating as normal is the best tribute they can pay, whilst others prefer to do something completely new and different.
Grieving can be a roller coaster of emotions and everyone copes differently. There is no ‘right way’ to grieve. Cut yourself some slack and keep your plans flexible in case you feel differently than you expect on the day. Conflict can arise when we have expectation of how others should behave so try to be sensitive to others and talk openly about how you’re feeling.
We all cope better and make better decisions if we are well rested and fed. Try to keep regular patterns of sleeping and eating in the lead up to Christmas and over the holiday period. Try not to over-indulge, especially with alcohol, and take time out to get fresh air and exercise, and doing things you usually enjoy as much as you can.
Allocate some time to remember your loved one. This may be as simple as spending a few quiet moments ‘speaking’ to the person, either silently or out loud. It may include a visit to the grave or a place that was special, or sharing memories and photos, with others that loved them. If this feels like it could be overwhelming put a time frame on it. During the time allowed, give your grief your full attention, then light a candle, send them your thoughts and return to the present moment.
New Year’s Eve celebrations can also be difficult. Take the same approach as for Christmas, give yourself some space to grieve and spend time with those who share your grief or who will allow you to just be yourself.
If you know someone going through bereavement rather than suffering yourself, give your time and presence. This year it’s not about the right words or about the right gift but about sharing your love.