With the holidays approaching us and 2019 coming to an end, it is perfectly natural for us to spend some time reflecting on all that has happened since the start of the year. We think about the people we’ve gained in our lives and how we’re so thankful for them being there for this time of year. But what is not talked about enough is how to get through the holidays without someone that you lost. Whether you lost a friend, grandparent, guardian, or parent, the holiday season can be hard to get through. The loved ones you're thinking about should be here by our side celebrating with us and not gone.
There is no specific handbook or how to “For Dummies” book on grieving the loss of someone that was so significant. Everybody’s grieving process is different but with the holidays, it’s almost like putting salt on your wounds making the process ten times harder.
One thing to keep in mind as you're struggling to stay in the holiday spirit is that you’re not alone in your grief. You’re not the only person out there who feels sad and confused at the time of the year everyone is so excited about. Don’t ever feel like you have to hurry your grieving process and bounce right back to acting like your old self. Take as much time as you need to mourn regardless of what time of year it is.
I highly encourage going to counseling to help during this season. Counseling may not be for everyone; it can be hard enough to just open up to friends or your own family about your loss, yet alone a trained therapist who is a complete stranger. Just remember that self-care and mental wellness can play a role in helping the grieving process. Getting validation that our thoughts and feelings are normal to have this holiday season may be just what you need.
Try to honor your loved one in some way through the holiday season. You could save a chair for them at dinner, as they may not physically be there with you, but their spirit is. Another way to honor your loved one is by giving a speech about the impact they left on you to your closest family and friends during a holiday party or dinner with them.
This advice given does not just apply to Thanksgiving and Christmas. Your pain may not just cease after getting through these major holidays but continue on no matter what holiday it is. If you know anyone who has experienced grief no matter how long ago or recent it was, please share this article with them.