Enjoying the holidays after losing a loved onePosted on December 15, 2014

The holidays can be painful when there is somebody missing. Making it through the season after the loss of a loved one can be difficult, but there are ways you can make it a little bit easier.

First, you should know that whatever you happen to feel is the right thing to feel. Know that nobody else will feel the same thing, at the same time in the same way that you do, but that does not mean those feelings are inappropriate. In general, people dealing with the loss of a loved one tend to feel sadness, depression, anxiety, fear, anger, guilt and even apathy.

While it is important for you to move forward with your life, this is generally not the best time to make drastic changes. Starting a new life in a new town, or spending the holidays faraway among others who do not understand your situation, will not make things easier. You may decide to change specific routines, like where you eat your holiday meal or how you distribute gifts. If you do, consider designing your new rituals in such a way that allows you to remember the past while acknowledging that the present has changed.

In a time when you may be feeling as if you’ve lost control of your life, focus on ways you can take it back. You can exhibit control over your circumstances by choosing to take care of yourself, for example. Healthy eating, responsible drinking and even starting an exercise program are ways to remind yourself that – no matter what else has happened – you still can control the way your life plays out. These steps have the added bonus of making you feel better, both mentally and physically. A brisk walk each day is one of the best exercises you can perform, especially if you can do it outdoors.

Consider purchasing a special ornament or tree to commemorate your loved one. Doing so can make remembering them a special part of the season, and one that will help others who are grieving know that they are dealing with the loss together.

But most importantly, do not forget that you are not alone. Many people struggle with loss during the holidays. If you need it, they can offer you help and perspective to make this season a little brighter. To find out about support groups that may be able to offer assistance, contact SOMC Hospice at 740-356-2567.

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