The Holidays Can be Difficult when we are facing it Without a Loved One:

My first Christmas tree that I choose to put up, in my new home, since my son’s murder. Progress is slow, but Ethan’s sisters and I are tired of being so sad all of the time. We all used to love celebrating, so we shall rebuild, slowly. Christmas 2013

Here are a few suggestions made by people who work with those who are grieving and is Reposted from the Ohio Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children:

*Because of your loss, holidays will be painful. Prepare yourself for this, but also remember that anticipation is often worse than the actual event. Handle the pressure one day at a time.

*Simplify the event, don’t try to fit in all the usual┬ároutine. Go over in your mind the things you normally would do, places you would to, etc., then ask yourself, which of these things would be easiest for you to handle. Remember there is no right or wrong way to feel, do what is most comfortable for you. If some things are too difficult, decide what you will do and inform family and friends of your decision.

*You may decide to change your routine. The one missing person will make a big difference. You don’t have to do the same thing as you have in the past. Also, keep in mind any changes made this year don’t have to become a tradition. Take one holiday at a time.

*Take care of yourself. Holidays are stressful. They can drain us emotionally and physically at the best of times. Be realistic about your endurance. Get proper nutrition, exercise and rest and don’t take on too much responsibility for tasks which are not necessary.
*Be patient and gently with yourself. Buying gifts may be impossible to handle. Maybe a monetary gift is called for this time. This feeling won’t last forever, you can always do things different at a later date. You may also feel envious of others happiness during the festivities. Your feelings are natural. Admit them to yourself. These feelings will pass.

* Sometimes dealing with family after the death of a loved one complicates your feelings. Be open and honest with your family, let them know what you can and cannot do. Let them know how you prefer to handle things this year. You must teach others how to help you. Our grief forces us to become teachers.

* You may find that no one mentions your loved one at family gatherings. You, however want to share your memories and need to talk. Let your feelings be known. You may want to do something in your loved one’s memory, do whatever makes sense to you.

Remember holidays come throughout the year. Some are more special to one and not so special to others. Consider this rule throughout the year. Ask yourself, is this a holiday that I must celebrate? If the answer is no, then don’t.

May your celebration of life become something you balance with your loss. — Kathleen