By Mary Beth Adomaitis
Source: Love to Know
There are many ways to cope with grief at Christmas. When dealing with the loss of a loved one at Christmas, one thing to keep in mind is there is actually no right or wrong way to celebrate the holidays.
Coping With Grief at Christmas
Holidays are a time for fellowship and friendship with those you love. However, for many bereaved families, it is also the time of year when they remember the ones in their lives who have died. How one handles this grief depends on many factors:
- Relationship to the person who died.
- Time since loved one’s passing.
- How many living family members and friends will join in holiday festivities.
- What stage of grief the bereaved person is in.
Once these factors are identified, the bereaved can decide what would be best in dealing with grief at Christmas. There are many ways this can be done including honoring the loved one lost or creating new family traditions.
It Is Normal to Grieve?
It’s okay to be sad when you miss someone you love. It’s only natural to feel the grief and heartache associated with being alone. When you start feeling overwhelmed by the holidays:
- Spend some time alone, reading your bereavement cards or letters from others about the person who died.
- Go to the cemetery or resting place.
- Write a letter to the person who died.
- Seek counseling if the grief is too overwhelming to handle alone.
- Share memories of the person with whoever will listen.
Hold a Memorial Service
On Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, hold a special graveside memorial service honoring the person who died. This will give everyone a chance to connect with their feelings about the deceased person. Activities to include in the memorial service are:
- Singing a few special holiday songs.
- Reading a few favorite Bible passages or poems.
- A photographic slideshow at the Christmas celebration.
- Placing favorite flowers or grave blankets on the headstone.
- Lighting a candle in your loved one’s memory.
- Have a moment of silence to honor your loved one.
- Have a special Mass or religious service held in the deceased person’s memory.