Holiday season is traditionally a happy time of year. We gather with family and friends and enjoy fun and fellowship. But for those who have suffered the death of a loved one, the holidays can be difficult.
What can a person who is grieving a loss do to make it through the holidays?
Dr. Alan Wolfelt has several suggestions to help you cope with feelings of sadness during what is generally a festive time of year. Dr. Wolfelt is a grief specialist.
- Talk about your grief. Seek the company of a friend or relative who will listen and allow you to share your feelings.
- Do what is right for you. If family or friends have made special plans for you, but you don’t feel comfortable with those plans, speak up. Let them know your wishes about what you would like to do.
- Talk about the person who has died. Mention him or her by name. Talking about the loved one you have lost and sharing memories—both good and bad—can lead to laughter or tears. Remember that it is okay to laugh. And okay to cry.
- Don’t do too much. Grief and sadness can affect your energy levels. If your body is telling you to slow down, listen.
- If certain family holiday traditions are likely to make you uncomfortable, it is your choice whether or not to participate. Similarly, if you wish to begin a new family tradition, let your feelings be known. Anticipate what might happen at family gatherings rather than being caught off guard.
This quote from Dr. Wolfelt gets to the heart of the matter. “As you approach the holidays, remember: grief is both a necessity and a privilege. It comes as a result of giving and receiving love. Don’t let anyone take your grief away. Love yourself. Be patient with yourself. And allow yourself to be surrounded by loving, caring people.”
For questions about grief counseling or any other aspects of hospice care, please call Hope Hospice at 314-984-9800. Hope Hospice serves patients and families in metro St. Louis, Missouri.