The loss of a loved one around the holidays is especially hard and difficult. Louis LaGrand, one of the world’s leading grief counselors and author of “Love Lives On: Learning from the Extraordinary Encounters of the Bereaved,” offers some specific suggestions to help you cope during the grief process.
1. Expect sadness, and give yourself permission to cry when you feel like it.
2. Do what is comfortable for you and do not please others.
3. Be clear with your family and friends about what you can and cannot do.
4. Honor the deceased in some way. Light a candle, have a “remember-when” session where each person tells a favorite story about the person, have a favorite dessert in his/her honor, or play one of the deceased person’s favorite songs.
5. Make major changes if necessary about how the holiday is celebrated or opt out of certain activities completely.
I would emphasize how important it is to be true to yourself. So often other people expect you to be over the loss or be cheerful when you do not feel cheerful. You need to be willing to be assertive about your needs.
If others expect you to be a certain way, don’t spend time with them. Instead, tell them the truth: “I am in grieving and do not feel like partying.”
If you are at an event and feel like you need to leave, take care of yourself. You can just leave and drop them a thank you note later. Or you can say, “Thank you for inviting me. I feel sad now and need to go home.”
During any family event, being true to yourself will help you through the difficult times. Being honest will even help you move more quickly through the grieving process. Feeling your grief will heal your heart and open it more fully. Then you can love yourself and others more deeply.
Dr. Doris Jeanette has an Internet Radio Show, Live at the Edge: http://www.ladybuglive.com/edge.htm