The holidays are often filled with laughter and spending time with family, but
they can also be a very painful time filled with grief and worry. They can be a reminder
of past holidays spent with family members who are no longer with us.
How can we have hope during those times?
Maria Shriver, an NBC news anchor and inspirational speaker, featured a lady
her blog, Leticia Yuzefpolsky, a stay-at-home mom who’s goal is to be an ambassador
of hope. Leticia gave the following suggestions for grief:
Honoring your loved one during holidays and celebrations. If you just share happy stories about your loved one, you are already honoring them. Light a candle, plant a tree, or release balloons.
Be sensitive to yourself and care for you. Don’t push yourself to get all those daily tasks done. Wait for a day you feel a bit stronger.
Be “real” with your feelings and emotions. If you need to cry, do it. By allowing yourself to be honest with your grief, those around you can do the same. You may find comfort in knowing someone else needed to cry, too.
Reach out. It is not always easy to ask for help. It is important to communicate what your needs are. No one is a mind-reader, so ask for support, even if you just want company or a hug.
Talk to a mental health professional or spiritual leader. You may not feel comfortable sharing all your feelings of grief with your friends or loved ones. Consulting with a mental health professional or spiritual leader may help you with the different stages of grief and any unresolved issues that could exacerbate your grief or vice versa.
Give yourself time to heal. There are different stages of grief you may experience at different times. Be patient with yourself and others that may be grieving alongside you. Each relationship shared with the loved one lost is uniquely their own. Respect their grief process and yours.
Bereavement groups are also helpful. Get information about the facilitator and class before attending. You may find that meeting other grievers is comforting. Or you may find it to be too difficult if you are not ready. Grief groups are not for everyone.
Follow your faith. Believe in yourself and pray for healing and grace to get you through. God makes miracles happen. Even small ones. Be thankful for all.
Pamper yourself with love and nurture your spirit. Surround yourself with positive people. If you are not in the mood to be social, then find a place in your home that brings you peace and meditate or pray. Exercise. Take a walk. Open the curtains and let the light in.
*Leticia notes also that everyone has a different grieving process, so what works for
one person might not work for another.
The original blog post was posted on Maria’s Shriver’s website under the heading,
“Hope Through the Hardest of Hard Times.” Despite the blog post being written in 2012, a lot of the same suggestions can apply today in 2015.
How do you handle grief during the holidays?