There is no good time for someone to die. Yes, if they have been suffering it can be somewhat of a relief when they finally pass as it means they are no longer in pain but unfortunately, their passing means that you are the one left to suffer.
Grief is always challenging, and if you’re going through a particularly difficult period and still feeling the impact grief can have upon you, whether someone has passed in recently or some time ago, Christmas can be a particularly challenging time.
Feelings of loss and grief can often be accentuated at Christmas because those around us appear to have a collective sense of joy and celebration – but for you, someone is missing. Often, we feel as if we need to put on a brave face, so as not to “inflict” our grief upon others and so we force the merriment out from inside of us, but in the end that can leave us feeling so much worse.
So, how do you cope with grief at Christmas?
There is no point in pretending that everything is okay and will be the same as it ever was because it won’t. Someone who had an impact upon your life is gone and things can’t and won’t be the same. However, this doesn’t mean they have to be worse; it just means they will be different and acknowledgement is the first thing you need to do.
If you’re struggling, due to outward appearances you often feel like you’re isolated and the only one feeling like this. This is not the case; know that you are not alone. We all experience and express grief in different ways and must be allowed to find our own paths, but this doesn’t mean you need to do it alone. Don’t shut yourself away. Talk to someone; friends and family will always be on hand to listen, but if this is too hard then think about talking to a therapist, bereavement counsellor or even the Samaritans. There is always someone who will listen.
Often one of the biggest causes of grief can be that you feel you may have lost the connection with your loved one who has passed. Remember the happy times, find family photographs or play a favourite song and use this to restore your connection and feel close again.
Before the season fully gets underway, try and think ahead and consider what festivities and traditions you think you will feel comfortable participating in and ones that you really can’t face. Some will be too painful, but others may help you feel close to the one you lost. It is okay to say no to offers from friends and family, they will understand. This is a time to think about you and what you want to do.
“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on” Havelock Ellis