Take Courage: Coping With Loss This Holiday

By: Ben Anton

The holidays can be a difficult time for those that have lost a loved one. The joy of the holidays makes emotions like grief and sadness much more profound and harder to cope with. Valley of Life, an online memorial service, is built for bereaved and grieving families looking to honor a loved one in a long-lasting way. A recent article published by the site provides helpful suggestions on how to cope with loss during Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and other holiday times of year based on the writings and discussions they have with members of the site. Below is just a summary of some of the key points the article touches on.

!b>Holiday Tradition Can Change
There's no need to do every activity you used to do this time of year if grief is still a major emotional factor in your life. If you feel like attending Christmas parties or baking for your church pageant is too much this year, skip it and take care of yourself. It is important to set realistic expectations for yourself on what you can successfully and happily complete. It may also be important to begin new traditions this holiday season to help begin making positive memories again.

No Shame
Don't feel ashamed of your emotions and don't let others make you feel bad for missing a party or church service; if they care for you they will respect your personal grieving process. Cry when you need to and find time for your self when you need to. Find ways to grieve but don’t isolate yourself from those that care most for you. The holidays bring up a wide range of emotions and it may take different things to help you work through each one.

Find Supporters
Seeking out friends and family members who care for you and understand what you're going through is another great way to make it through a difficult holiday season. An organized support group, church group, caring coworkers, or your good friends and family can all provide the needed stability and listening ear.

Try To Celebrate
Many feel they should try to forget or push aside their memories during the holidays. In reality, it is better to embrace them, both good and bad. Many of the bereaved have found comfort during the holidays by writing to their loved ones in a journal, a letter or a blog. Some others put up a decoration, play their favorite music or light a candle that reminds them of the deceased. Doing something to remind you of your loved one during the holidays is a great way to remind yourself that in some way they will always be with you.

Give Back To Others
Joining a service organization or throwing yourself into a local volunteer project is also a great way to cope with holiday grief. You can volunteer at a local shelter, retirement home, or library. If you are able, buy a toy for a needy child or simply help an elderly person in your neighborhood clear their walkway. These little things can have a big emotional impact when you are down.

~Ben Anton, 2008

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You are invited to read the complete Holiday Grief Support article at valleyoflife.com or talk directly with others coping with the death of a loved one in the site's Forum.

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