I encourage anyone who will be missing a special someone this holiday season to click on this link. The music will minister to you. Such poignant words from Christian song artist Mark Schultz.
If you are dealing with loss this holiday season, here are a few points that may help:
1) Allow yourself to grieve. Let the feelings come. It may hit at unexpected times–during a song, commercials, photographs, etc. The year my mom died just before Christmas, I remember baking and suddenly feeling overwhelmed. I needed to ask my mom a question about the baking and I couldn’t. For whatever reason, this hit me hard and I started to cry. I realized that so much of my mom’s contribution to the holidays was her incredible baking. Baking triggered the memory. It’s OK. Let the feelings out.
2) Consider attending a support group. This is no time to be strong and go it alone. Grief needs to be shared. Find people who can listen and grieve with you. If you are really struggling, a support group can be just the place to heal the heart.
3) Do something for someone else. I know it is a cliche to say that seeing the need of someone else helps you feel better, but it is true. Take an angel off the Angel tree, volunteer in a soup kitchen, visit a shelter or hospital, participate in a church activity or community event. Giving to others takes your mind off yourself and improves your mood. This year, I am caroling in a nursing home. The residents love it.
4) Don’t wallow in pity. It’s easy to look at people celebrating and feel deprived or resentful. Don’t go there. Anger will come as part of the grieving process, but don’t allow that anger to move to resentment.
5) Take a time-out if you become overwhelmed. Find a quiet room in a family get together, leave the church sanctuary for a side room to cry, etc.
6) Don’t avoid the loss or pretend the person wasn’t important. Talk about the person. In our family, we talk about mom’s pies and how much we miss them, the sound of her laughter, the love for her grandkids, etc. Share a favorite story. Laugh about funny moments. This helps keep the memories alive.
7) If the loss is fresh, don’t push yourself. Do as little or as much as you feel you can handle. There is no right way to handle grief. Pay attention to your physical life–sleep, eating well and resting. A little self-care will take the edge off the rawness of loss feelings.
8) Feel joy and laughter without feeling guilty. There will be moments of joy and laughter during the holiday season, especially if you are a person of faith. Allow them to come. You can’t sustain grief 24/7 or your body will be too stressed. Sometimes a light distraction like a funny movie can even help.
9) Don’t push yourself to grieve too quickly. The intensity of grief lessens with time. Time does heal. As the months go by, you will feel stronger and better, but it does take time.
10) Pray and comfort yourself with God’s Word. God knows our grief and our sorrows and promises to comfort us. Ask Him to help you through this difficult time.