Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Dealing with Grief in the Holidays

The holiday season can be a minefield for those who are grieving, even if the loss is not recent.  The holidays bring back sweet but painful memories of happier times that sharply remind us of what we no longer have.  And there is a deep disconnect with a world that seems to be uncomplicated and joyful.  Rhonda O’Neill writes about the "fog of grief" during the holidays
[W]hy am I still surprised a decade later, when my mostly healed heart, breaks back open during the holidays like clockwork? Just what is it about the holidays that brings the pain of our loss back to the forefront of our hearts? And how can we be more prepared to deal with the unexpected pain?

Our society puts a lot of money, emotion, and time, into the winter holidays. Holidays are advertised as joyous occasions where we gather together and celebrate with family and friends. Everywhere you look there are reminders that the holidays are the ‘most wonderful time of the year.’ But, after loss, holidays don’t feel so wonderful anymore. In fact, they can be downright debilitating.

Some of her suggestions: "Be kind and patient with yourself." Acknowledge that it is difficult. Reach out to help others. Make an effort to do things that give you happiness. Don't let yourself get isolated. But say no when you need to. Cherish your memories. And "Sometimes volunteering or helping someone else in need can bring joy to our broken hearts. If you find joy in giving, find a way to balance giving to others in need, without draining yourself physically or emotionally."

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