With the holiday season upon us, we find that we are constantly being told to be happy and jolly and merry. But for many of us across Western Australia who are coping with grief after experiencing the loss of a loved one, feeling positive about Christmas is not possible.
What was once a happy time of getting the family together and creating memories is now a reminder that we can no longer share those moments with our loved one.
“Grief, I’ve learned is just love. It’s all the love you want to give but cannot.
All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes,
the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest.
Grief is just love with no place to go."
Everyone deals with their grief differently and at Christmas time you may find yourself reacting in unexpected ways.
Here are some tips that may help you to cope with grief and loss and get you through the holiday season:
- Take the time for yourself - Self-care is so important for a person’s well being, but is often completely overlooked. Take time out of your day to focus solely on yourself and do whatever is you need to do. Whether it’s meditate, read and have a coffee, or even cry, whatever you decide will help you to feel centred and then get on with the holiday season.
- Don’t feel guilty - If you find that you’re enjoying yourself at Christmas more than you thought you would (if at all), go with it. It is okay and normal to feel happiness even while you’re going through the stages of grief. Allow yourself to feel that way, you deserve it.
- It’s okay to miss some or all of Christmas if need be - The holiday season is always busy, but it can be particularly exhausting when you are coping with grief. Explain to your family and friends what you do and don’t feel up to doing this year, and don’t feel guilty if you need to cancel plans on the day.
For those that have a family member or friend going through the stages of grief, there are ways for you to help them get through this difficult time of year:
- Start a new Christmas tradition - When a person is grieving it can be hard for them to focus on the future. If they’re feeling up to it, suggest a new tradition for you to share with them. This isn’t to try to take their mind off their loved one, but will help to give them something to look forward to each year.
- Invite them to spend Christmas with you - If your friend or family member is spending Christmas alone this year (and not by choice), invite them to spend the day with you. Much like starting a new tradition, doing something completely different on Christmas Day may be refreshing and helpful for them. Remember to be understanding if they decline your offer or change their mind at the last minute.
At Purslowe & Chipper Funerals we understand that coping with grief can be a daunting, difficult time in anyone's life. Feelings of loss and sadness may never go away, but with time the grief will lighten. If you’d would like further information on grief either for yourself or a loved one, please visit My Grief Assist.