Christmas is a wonderful time for most people. School finishes for another year, carols are sung, families get together, holidays at the beach, giving and receiving of gifts, and special Church services. However, for those who lost a loved one, the season lacks the usual joy.
The first Christmas without a loved one may feel different and confusing. Annual traditions are disrupted without the physical presence of a loved one. But by creating new traditions, families can honour their loved one’s memory while coping with grief.
Coping with Grief
The first year without a loved one is often the hardest, and it’s even more difficult during Christmas. Remember, it’s okay to not feel up to all the frivolity, but it’s also important not to isolate yourself. Only do what you feel up to, and it’s okay to sit some events out if you need some time alone to grieve. There’s no right or wrong way to grieve so it will be different for everyone.
During Christmas, there may be added pressure to feel joyful, but you don’t have to be happy all the time. It’s okay to cry and show your emotions; it’s a completely healthy and normal way to grieve your loss. Just don’t forget to take care of yourself and ask for help if you need it. Your family members can lean on each other for support and grieve as a family while you’re together for Christmas.
The holidays also bring with them the added secondary losses of annual traditions with your loved one. The traditions won’t be the same without them, but you can create new ones that honour their legacy.
Mementos to Honour Their Memory
You also can create meaningful mementos to remember your loved one by. It’s a little something to honour their memory while easing your grief and helping you feel close to them.
Below are a few ideas:
What other ideas do you have for coping with grief during the first Christmas without a loved one? Share them with us in the comments!
Adapted from an article by Jenny Goldade
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