Coping with Grief During the Holidays
Hope and the Holidays
The holidays are a difficult time to grieve. Feelings of loss are often magnified. The Center for Grief and Loss offers an annual presentation designed for adults called Hope and the Holidays. The session includes a general discussion of the grief process, practical suggestions on coping, and creative ways to utilize rituals and remembrances. Presentations are traditionally held in November prior to Thanksgiving.
Tips to Help Yourself Cope
- Be gentle to yourself. Make choices about what you can or can't do this year. Give yourself permission to do things differently. You don't have to make the same choices the next year.
- Communicate your choices with family and friends -- especially those who are affected by them.
- Support your loved ones. Acknowledge that everyone is experiencing loss. Don't hold it in; share your feelings and memories.
- Collaborate with family members to discuss the best way to meet everyone's needs. Respect each other's choices, and consider compromises so family members can deal with the loss in their own way.
- Recognize your loved one's presence in the family. Rituals such as lighting a special candle, sharing stories, or setting a place at the table for your loved one brings them into the holiday season with you and keeps their memory alive,
Tips to Help Children Cope
Children may have big questions:
Will we still have Christmas or Hanukkah?
Will we put up decorations?
Is it okay to feel happy?
Children may feel guilty about looking forward to a holiday. Because you seem sad, they may think that they should be sad too. They may want to avoid the holiday entirely.
You Can Help
Talk about your plans. You can relieve stress for children if everyone knows what to expect.
Share memories... even through the tears. Let them know that it is all right to say the person's name and talk about them.
Get children involved in your plans. Helping with decorating, making crafts, or cooking will give them a sense of control. Children need to be hugged, held and cuddled, and know there will always be someone to love and care for them.
Contact the Center for Grief and Loss at 719-633-3400 or by emailing BereavementTeam@PikesPeakHospice.org. for more information.