July 7, 2023

Handling Difficult Holidays After a Death

Holidays, especially the festive season, typically mean joy, celebration, and family time. However, for those who have experienced the death of a loved one, the holidays can become an emotional minefield. Dealing with grief during this time is often incredibly challenging. But, with support and a few strategies, it is possible to navigate holidays in a way that honors a loved one’s memory.

Explore the following suggestions during a particular holiday or the festive season to find peace and healing while remembering your loved one.

Acknowledge and Validate Your Feelings

The first step in coping with a difficult holiday that’s coming up is to acknowledge and accept your emotions. You may be facing a first Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas without your loved one, and it’s normal to experience a mix of sadness, anger, and even guilt at this time.

Allow yourself to grieve and feel this range of emotions. Give yourself permission to mourn and be gentle with yourself as you traverse this new reality.

Adjust Traditions and Expectations

Holidays often revolve around family traditions. But, at a time of loss, it is vital to recognize that your circumstances have changed. Consider creating new holiday rituals to honor your loved one’s memory and involve your extended family in the planning.

New traditions may include story sharing, lighting a candle, or setting up a memorial corner in your home. It is okay to do things differently if it means you’ll cope better with your loss.

Seek Support

Grief can cause you to isolate yourself from others and become depressed. When you feel dragged down by negative emotions, speak to family members and close friends. If you’re not ready to discuss your feelings with them, consider joining a support group that can provide companionship during the holiday season.

Sharing your experiences and memories with others who have gone through a similar loss can start your healing process. If you cannot shake feelings of depression, consider seeking professional help from a grief counselor.

Take Care Of Yourself

During emotionally taxing times, you should prioritize self-care. Too often, grief-stricken people try to support their families while neglecting their own physical and mental well-being. If you want to take care of your family, you must meet your own needs first.

Try to get enough rest and eat nourishing foods. Engage in activities that bring your comfort and joy. It is okay to take a break from holiday festivities if you need some time on your own or if you become overwhelmed. But don’t shut your family and friends out when you need them the most.

Honor Your Loved One

Your loved one isn’t truly gone because they will always live in your heart. Find meaningful ways to honor your relationship with your loved one to bring a sense of connection during the holidays.

If your loved one supported a specific cause, consider volunteering at the organization or donating in their name. If you planned a trip and your loved one passed away before you could go, don’t cancel it. Make it a family vacation and spend time at the places cherished by your loved one. This trip may even result in a new family tradition.

Keeping your loved one’s memory alive and including them in your holiday traditions can be a comforting way to get through the season.

The Bottom Line

Dealing with a loss during the holidays is undoubtedly challenging. But, by allowing yourself to grieve while adjusting to your new situation and taking care of yourself, things will get easier. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, and it is more than okay to ask for help. Be kind to yourself and your family, and allow yourself to heal.

For more information, contact Wyuka Cemetery at (402)-474-3600.


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