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
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