Joy and Sadness of the Holiday Season

mcleodGood Mourning with Carole McLeod

When you ask someone who is confronted with a catastrophic illness or death of a loved one, “What do you want for Christmas?” the answer typically will be, “To have my loved one back and go on with life the way it was.”

joysadnessHolidays are about being together with the important people in your life including your spouse, children, family, and friends gathering together to make more memories and creating more traditions. But what is actually happening is a renewed sense of personal grief. When a loved one is very ill or has died, even the memories of holidays past can be too painful to think about, let alone beginning new ones without that person.

Here are some tools to help make these times a little easier and less stressful, create a new meaning for yourself, and to cope a little better with your sadness and stress.

Be patient and realistic with yourself. We know how things ought to be and we remember how they were; now you must decide what you are capable of doing with these celebrations, leaving the words ought and should out of the plans.

Communicate. Inform other family members what you would like to do. At the same time consider their needs, it’s a delicate balance to do what is best for you and for them. Allow the tears to come- talk about your loved one, use their name, remember the past holiday celebrations, and encourage those around you to do the same. You might find yourself crying and laughing at the same time.

Don’t be afraid to change traditional routines for this year. Try whatever pops into your head. You can always change it back to the way it was later. You might want to go back to the way you previously celebrated when your grief has lessened.

Mind your finances. Do not try to mask the pain by overspending.

Plan ahead. Anticipation is usually worse than the actual event. Take one day at a time, simplify the activities, and let go of those you can’t handle.

Honor the memory of your loved one. Include them in the celebrations, decorate the grave or niche with a wreath, flower arrangement, or balloons. Consider donating an item or money in their name to a charity, organization or church they valued.

Take care of yourself. Eat a well-balanced diet, get lots of rest and exercise, and know that these feelings of grief are normal.

Remember these are just guidelines to help you cope with your holidays. Everyone is unique, and what works for some will not work for others. Keep repeating to yourself,”I will do what is easier and best for me”.

Tree of Memories Annual Holiday Program
Tyrone Chapel – 7820 38th Ave. North
Sunday, December 6th – 12:00 – 4:30 p.m.

Reserve your ornaments HERE

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