To Lose a Loved One Around the Holidays
To lose someone around the holidays is far from easy. Their absence leaves a hole that cannot be filled, especially this time of year. We believe that this is the season to be with your loved ones, not separated from them. Perhaps they have just departed and this is your first season without them. Maybe they have been gone for years, but the holidays are always a reminder of their departure. That, or even they haven't passed yet, but you know someone currently battling something, and it's only a matter of time. Unfortunately, I can check off each of those categories.
It's okay not to be okay during the holidays.
I'll say it again: It's okay not to be okay during the holidays. People emphasize that this time of year is supposed to be merry and bright. For many; however, it winds up being a time of grieving and difficult memories. We reflect more at the end of the year, and memories- whether good, bad, or mixed- bubble up to the surface. There is almost too high of an expectation to be happy in this season that we can feel even worse for not feeling joyful. In many ways, guilt can play such a factor. Guilt can make one feel like they do not deserve to have a good time.
Dealing with loss is no easy feat, and it comes in many stages, but I know a few ways that can release some of the pain. First of all, recognize the loved ones you have around you. Whether you are meeting in person, or still communicating online, let them know how much they mean to you. Another way is to stay busy and to give back. Holiday events to take part in, or charities to get involved with, are great escapes to channel levity and grace.
This last one may be the toughest of all: Allow yourself to feel the way you do. You can be happy and sad at the same time. You can be happy to be with loved ones and exchange presents but still be sad by the loss you are experiencing. Very often, we fear that if we bring up someone who is no longer with us, the topic will upset those around us. However, acknowledging that person recognizes their life and their meaning. It continues their legacy and welcomes love and respect.