Holidays, for the most part, are times of laughter, family and joyful celebration. However, if you have recently lost a loved one, the holidays can be an especially challenging time. The feelings of loss may take on new depth during this traditional time of celebration and you may need extra emotional support. Here are a few suggestions that may help you deal with grief during the holidays:
This time of year may be difficult no matter where you are, but by planning ahead you can make the best of the situation. Opting to celebrate as usual may be your choice, but keep in mind that the celebration will not be the same as it was when your loved one was with you. Prepare yourself for those feelings. If celebrating seems too difficult to bear, consider doing something completely different, like taking a trip, perhaps to a destination you have never visited, or take in a play.
A friend, Susie, lost her husband near the holidays and was initially immobilized by sadness. The following year she decided to spend the holiday helping others. While Susie still grieves the loss of her husband, this will mark her 10th year in serving meals to homeless families on Christmas Day. By focusing on the needs of others, our own sadness may be lessened.
Remember to be kind to yourself and take special care to get the rest and nourishment you need. Let friends and family know what you need and when you may need support. People sometimes feel awkward and not sure of what to say or do.
You are grieving, so give yourself permission to not have a good time — or permission to enjoy. Our love for the one who passed is not measured by how much we grieve. Most of us are fortunate enough to have others in our lives who we love, so try to focus on them. Remember, too, that if you are missing someone, chances are others are missing them, as well.
Finally, there are wonderful organizations and support groups to help you through the holidays. Hospice Foundation can provide resources and information on bereavement support groups in Monterey and San Benito counties. The information can be found on www.hospicegiving.org or by calling 333-9023. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization can provide further resources at NHPCO.org or 800-658-8898.
The holidays can be a time of deepest grief for a loved one. It may be hard to imagine — but you will survive.
Liza Horvath has over 30 years' experience in the estate planning and trust fields and is the president of Monterey Trust Management, a financial and trust management company. This column is not intended to be legal or tax advice. If you have a questions call 646-5262 or email email@example.com.