That time of year is here again. The Holidays are
upon us, bringing excitement and chaos, memories and tears. The busyness of
these weeks may keep our minds focused on the traditions we celebrate, but when
bereavement accompanies you every day, there’s a dull ache that won’t go away.
Friends and family want you to share in the joy of the holidays, and may flood
you with places to go and things to do. Keeping the spirit alive is their goal
and, though well-meant, they don’t understand that this year, and maybe for
many years, a somber note clouds over the festivities.
How can you help yourself or someone else to
celebrate your cherished traditions while mourning a loved one? Remember that
this is your holiday to commemorate as you wish. It may not resemble anything
you’ve done before, but you can establish new traditions, join others or be by
yourself, or simply stroll through public places listening to the music and
feeling the energy of people who are making merry. Decide ahead of time what
you’ll do if sadness overtakes you, and make a list of gifts to give yourself
this year. These gifts may include a cup of coffee and ice cream, an ornament
for yourself or your loved one, a phone call to someone you haven’t talked to
for a long time, or connecting with a neighborhood group distributing toys or
The pain of loss will be with you for a long time,
and missing your loved one may seem unbearable. If being with large groups is
difficult, invite a few people who are close to you, serve simple food, and
relax together. A sense of quiet peace and joy emerges from the gentle touch of
those who truly comfort.
This may be a time of sorrow for others you know,
and planning an outing might be the perfect solution for meeting and greeting,
without having to answer endless questions of how you are doing. Plays and
concerts are abundant and many are free or cost little. A chili supper and game
night or dessert and coffee spread warmth around and nourish body and soul.
The need for comfort for yourself or a friend can
occur anytime of the year, but the holidays are especially difficult. The gift
of time and a listening ear are at the top of everyone’s list. Put on your
Santa hat and feel the joy.
I wish you well,