The first Christmas without my mother was agony. Actually, the month before was probably worse than the day itself. Because my mother had been sick between December 6 and January 11, I relived the whole month, which included Christmas and New Year’s Day. I tried to do things that I had done with my mother in hopes of making everything “all right”. But of course, it would never be the same.
Grief causes physical and emotional pain. Baby Boomers have come to expect instant pain relief in this fast paced society. Unfortunately, Baby Boomers will be facing this chapter in their lives in a culture that does not give grief the respect or validation it deserves. Grief is an emotion that our society does not want to discuss.
We have been inundated with expressions such as “get on with life” and “closure” and “getting back to normal.” None of these expressions or attitudes helps the grief stricken.
The holidays create even more pain to those grieving. They are a painful reminder of those who are no longer in our lives on a daily basis. What should be a festive and happy time does not feel like it for the grief stricken.
There is an enormous amount of pressure to act “normal” during these holiday times. This seems like an insurmountable task at this time. It is exhausting.
Here are some things that may help you get through these difficult situations:
- Give yourself permission to feel whatever it is you feel. If journaling or using a support group or special person generally helps, then make sure you take advantage of them during holiday times.
- Keep up any traditions that the deceased person started and you can continue. It helps you feel you are honouring the deceased.
- Try to establish new traditions that make you and your family feel good about the holiday or include activities you enjoy.
- Talk about your loved one with friends and family and encourage them to share favorite stories with you.
- Take care of yourself during this stressful time. Anything that makes you feel better should be done. This could be a long walk, massage, listening to music and getting enough sleep.
Holidays are a difficult time but there are ways to get through them without hiding from the pain. Even though the holidays may not be as celebratory as last year, the days pass and you do survive!
2008 Jane GalbraithTags: grief, hope