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  • Writer's pictureCeri Kerrin

Christmas Mourning

No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear - CS Lewis

To live is to experience loss. The loss of a loved one, leaving home, the loss of a relationship, the loss of ones health, retirement, the loss of ones job, loss of a pet, divorce, and miscarriage are all forms of loss and can bring out the best and the worst in families. This is especially true over the festive season.

Christmas is a time for celebration and family, however, this can be a stark reminder of someone who is no longer there to share in these events. When grieving we mourn the past, present, and future. This loss of future is often experienced during the festive season.

Knowing what to expect

Morning is a natural emotional, social, psychological, physical and spiritual process which can result in feelings of sadness, anxiety, irritability, numbness, ambivalence and low motivation and concentration. This often leaves a person wanting to escape or feeling crazy.

Elizabet Kugler-Ross noted that grief is a process defined by 5 stages

  • Denial

  • Anger

  • Bargaining

  • Depression

  • Acceptance

This is not a linear process and a person will move between these stages repeatedly and not in sequential order. It is important to remember that no two people will experience this process in the same way and that there is no right/wrong way to grieve.

J. William Worden noted that there are 4 key tasks in processing this grief

Ways of Managing Grief During the Festive Season

Although Christmas can be associated with happy moments, the grieving process does not stop. During this time is is important to acknowledge that you are grieving and communicate about it. Here are some useful guidelines to help with mourning during the festive season

  • Allow yourself time to feel

  • Think about what you loved about the person

  • Write a letter to the person

  • Take some time to focus on self care

  • Start a new tradition

  • Acknowledge those who have passed away during the festivities

  • Be gentle on yourself

  • Place a a memory stocking / ornament in your home

  • Say yes to help

  • Set healthy boundaries

  • Be mindful of your substance use

  • Seek professional help if you need to

Helping someone you love who is grieving

Although you can't take someone else's pain away. There are many things you can do to help someone you know or love who is grieving. This includes

  • Sit with them

  • Encourage them to share their sorrow

  • Don't offer false comfort

  • Acknowledge their feelings and loss

  • Offer practical help

  • Be patient with them

  • Encourage them to get professional help.

Change is inevitable, growth is optional - Walt Disney


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