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t’s that time for Holiday Cheer! This morning on my drive to the funeral home there was a Christmas song on the radio bubbling over with merriment, joy, cheer and jingle bells! (Ray Conniff Singers if any of you remember them?) This song was so over the top with the happiness of the season that it made me feel down because I didn’t feel THAT cheerful. When we are grieving, the very thought of festivities can seem overwhelming. How to get through this? Darcie Sims,a noted grief management specialist, notes that after the death of her daughter she felt “frozen inside”. It may be difficult to think about any of the family traditions without your loved one’s presence. Ms. Sims called the Holiday season “a painful reminder of the terrible loss you are feeling”. Yet, there are ways to cope with planning and forethought -it is possible to get through this time.
Vickie and I have facilitated the Coffee & Comfort group for many years. We’ve heard many ways that families have made their way through the Holiday season. Perhaps most importantly, realize this is a new holiday. Don’t expect this Christmas to be like those of the past . Don’t deny that there is someone very special missing at the table. Many have told us that lighting a candle at mealtime, or another time special to your own family tradition, to be a time of sharing stories and memories for the next generation to remember. Don’t be afraid to cry or to smile! If we remember the reason for the Season, the hope offered there may provide comfort.
It’s a time to be gentle with yourself. Take care of yourself, listen to your own spirit and don’t feel that you have to say YES to everything that you have always done in the past. Let this holiday be a time of peace and gratitude for the blessings that remain around the table. You may find the tears flowing but there will most certainly be a moment of joy – allow yourself to enjoy those moments.
I hope you will enjoy the gifts of the season found in special memories, family and friends. Blessings, Dianna