With Hanukkah starting soon and Christmas less than a month away, you are probably expected to share in the merriment. But if you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, you’re problem not feeling very joyful. It can be difficult to know how to grieve over the holidays, when everyone wants you to be happy, but you can’t help but feel sad and alone.
There is no cure all or simple solution – you just need patience and understanding from those around you.
How to Grieve Over the Holidays
- Include your loved one in some way during the holidays. This could be through religious rituals – such as prayer or lighting a candle at church. It could also be done in a secular way, such as preparing their favourite dish as part of the holiday meal, or putting an ornament they loved on the tree.
- Have a back-up plan. Maybe the day before a big holiday dinner you’ll be feeling great, but then you wake up and everything feels wrong. Allow yourself to change plans if you need to. Tell your loved ones you will try to make it, but will plan for a quiet meal at home if need be.
- Remember that the holidays will return next year. If this year just isn’t feeling right, skip it and don’t feel guilty. There’s always next year.
- Start a new tradition. If the holidays without your loved one is too difficult because of all the traditions tied to that individual, change it up. Start new traditions. It can mark the beginning of something new.
- Don’t feel guilty over your grief. You don’t need one more thing to feel sad about. Be kind to yourself. Allow yourself to feel so your can heal.
- Let loved ones in. Even if you’re not up for celebrating, don’t shut family and friends out. Let them be there for you. Let them help. If they want to make you tea and bring you food, let them. It all comes from a place of love and concern.
- It’s okay to have fun. If you do feel up for for celebrating, that’s okay. You don’t have to feel like you’re not sad enough, or should be still in perpetual mourning. If you feel like participating in the festivities, that doesn’t mean you aren’t still missing your loved one.
If you’re struggling with how to grieve over the holidays, the staff at Chapel Ridge Funeral Home and Cremation Centre in Markham can help. We can refer you to a local grief counsellor, or just listen if that’s what you need.