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Holidays and Grief

The grief we feel after someone we loved has died is not what we expected. People talk about stages of grief, timelines for grief and give condolences. After we experience loss this all becomes meaningless and after a period of time we may become lost ourselves.

You might think people are expecting you to be feeling better, coming to terms with the death, moving towards acceptance and/or moving on. Its ok if thats not where you are and this is especially true during the holidays. The truth is the stages of grief are not linear, they are cyclical and some times are harder than others. Birthdays, anniversaries and yes holidays can be among the most difficult times.

The most important thing that you can do is honor your grief. It is ok to feel sad, in fact that sadness you feel is your love for the deceased enduring. Allow the sadness to be there, like all things it too will pass. And return and pass. Remember its a cycle.

There are other things you can do also.

Reach out to someone who understands that you can talk to. If you don't have anyone or it doesn't seem to be helping consider reaching out to a therapist or joining a grief support group.

Find ways to honor your loved one this holiday season. This may be by lighting a candle, visiting their resting place, making a donation, preforming an act of service in their name or setting a place for them at dinner. You may already have beliefs, ceremonies or rituals in your cultural, religious or spiritual practice. If you do make sure to utilize them.

Avoid alcohol and/or substances to numb the pain. It is likely to make things worse in the long run.

Minimize your commitments. Part of honoring your grief is realizing your limits and listening to your body. Don't overwhelm yourself with too many plans or saying yes to more than you can handle.

Take time for self care. Find activities that help you relax and bring you joy. Your loved one wants this for you AND you deserve it, even if you feel that you don't.

There is no correct way to grieve. Know that what you are feeling is normal. If it feels overwhelmed or unmanagable reach out, there is help here for you.

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