When we are grieving, holidays are difficult. This year they will be especially complicated. We grieve for our loved ones. We grieve the traditions and rituals we shared together. We treasure our special memories, we also know they will be shifting to something different, but we may be uncertain as to what they will become. How we react to the happy music, bright decorations and continuous greetings may not be how we normally do. This may cause us to feel even sadder and more bereft than we already feel.
Through my own years of being a grief counselor as well as a person who lost a loved one, I have found the following process to be helpful. I call it the 3 W’s and the H.
Who? Who will I spend my holidays with? Who will support me and be with me during the holidays? This year, who will I be safe around?
Where? Where will I spend my holidays? The pandemic makes this question even harder. Make plans to safely be with others, whether at home or someplace else. If you are staying home, discuss connecting with your loved ones through Zoom, Facetime, or a phone call.
What? What will I do during the holidays? What will I want to do? The holidays can be very hectic from sending cards, buying gifts, planning meals, to decorating. As we grieve, we are often tired, so anything hectic may seem especially overwhelming. Deciding what to continuing doing and what to change, modify or eliminate is important.
How? How will I honor my loved one? Finding ways to honor a loved one, from lighting a candle, making a meaningful charitable donation to buying them a gift, are all ways to honor them. How also involves self-care. How am I going to care for myself?
Peruse our Holiday Resources page.
Visit our Coping with the Holidays Facebook page to post remembrances and connect with others. As it is a private group, you will need to request to join.
Many have found this worksheet helpful as a guide to the holiday season coping with the holidays worksheet.pdf.