"When Christmas" Isn't Merry
For the next few weeks, most of us will say "Merry Christmas" to many people. But what about those people for whom Christmas isn't merry, those who are in grief, with loss fresh in their mind. Good things often happen at Christmas, that bring extra joy and happiness to people's lives, such as the birth of a new baby, a wedding, or a wedding anniversary. Unfortunately, just as many people break up with their partners, or lose someone to death around Christmas as well.
Dealing with an occasion, that is supposed to be festive, is difficult when you are sad or grieving. The holiday only reminds you of what you have lost. The emptiness is bigger, the feelings more intense, and the pain harder to cope with. Grieving the death or the anniversary of the death of a loved one, or of a love relationship is hard at Christmas. There is no easy answer for getting through it, but there are some useful hints and ideas. I can only briefly touch on these here in my column.
When family and friends and our children have died, our loss is felt more intensely at Christmas. It helps to make a plan to deal with those sad feelings, which will come up for sure. Don't let others tell you how to plan to handle your grief. Make your own plans. It is your grief. You have the right to deal with the best way you can.
We will all miss our dearly departed loved ones more thought the Hell-a-day season. Christmas memories , we will light a special candle on the table when we sit down for Christmas dinner make a toast and finish with blessing for the bountiful table and the love that surrounds us.
There is no right or wrong way to respond when we are grieving.
1. Others may not understand our decisions, but that doesn't make them right of wrong.
2. Our emotions may be more intense during the holidays, and we may not be able to turn them on and off. But we can plan how we will deal with them. Doesn't matter. We're doing it for ourselves.
3. Talking to someone else helps, even if they canï¿½t totally understand what we are going through.
4. We donï¿½t have to celebrate things the same way as we did in the past. We can change those things that need to be changed, to help us to handle the holiday time better.
5. We need to be gentle with ourselves. We need to take care of ourselves. We donï¿½t have to meet other peopleï¿½s expectations. And it's important not to set unrealistic expectations for ourselves.
6. We can't escape the reality of the pain of our grief and loss, but we can soften that pain by planning what we do, and doing it in a way that respects our own needs.
7. Changing holiday routines often helps, for example, eating Christmas dinner at a different time of day, or opening gifts at a different time, or in a different way, may help us cope.
8. Respect the memory of the one who died, perhaps with a Christmas stocking, perhaps with a special candle at the Christmas meal, a special ornament on the Christmas tree, or if you usually visit the grave, place a special object on it at Christmas.
9. Shopping at Christmas can be very painful is we are grieving. Some people order many of their gifts by catalogue, have friends help them with the shopping list, or give some people a cash gift rather than worrying about finding the right present.
10. Go where you want to go, and do what you want to do at Christmas. There's no law that says you have to go to every place or every party you're invited to over Christmas.
11. Find someone who is a good listener, since you may need to talk a lot about the person you are grieving at this time.
12. If you send Christmas cards, acknowledge your loss in the card, perhaps including a poem, or including an "in memory of" message as part of the card. If you wish to, place an "In Memoriam" in the newspaper.
13. Finally, remember you can and need to change your mind, if any of the plans you have made turn out not to be the right thing for you to do at that time.
14. To be this, you need to be in touch with your own feelings and needs. Be gentle with yourself. Take care of yourself. This is the best Christmas present you can give yourself.
15. ONE MOMENT AT A TIME.
May The Dove Of Peace Fly Into Your Heart...