If you haven’t already suffered the loss of a friend or family member, it’s inevitable that you will. In the hustle and bustle of life, it may be easy to forget that the holidays aren’t happy for everyone — especially for those of us that are learning to cope.
It’s been nine holidays seasons without my mother and I still think of her and the things that we would have done together. I think of her smile, her laughter, her world renowned macaroni pie and stuffing (lol) and all of her favorite things. I wish that I could roll my eyes one more time because she said, “don’t buy me anything for Christmas, just give me money.” Lol. My mom was truly ‘The Ideal Idena’ — the Proverbs 31 woman. I miss her more than words can describe.
Nothing can make the emptiness that I feel without her subside. I’ve learned that coping and finding my way back to joy is a choice.
Here are three practical things that I’ve done over the years to help me to cope with my grief and loss during the holidays.
START A NEW TRADITION
I know, it may be daunting but trust me, it works. Changing your routine will help you create new traditions and take your mind away from your loss. If staying at home makes you sad, opt to visit a friend or eat at a restaurant. Take baby steps. Build on your new tradition every year. This doesn’t mean that you’ve forgotten the person that you lost, it means the you’re creating a new normal.
CREATE A SANITY CARE PACK
Self care opens the door to sanity. What do you enjoy most during your quiet time? Magazines, books, music, DVD’s, chocolate, or listening to a podcast? Figuring out the tangible item or activity that brings you happiness and comfort can help you restore your sanity. Trust me, I’ve had endless boxes of Ferrero Rocher (don’t judge me) 😉.
While these things are a temporary fix and cannot permanently replace your loss, they can create a distraction and to help you through the rough moments of grief, especially during the holidays.
FIND YOUR TRIBE + BE TRANSPARENT
Community and transparency have been a game changer for me.
Find the people that care about you. I joined a grief and healing support group on Facebook. In the group we share openly about grieving. This group has helped me through many dark days. I always recommend that you try to be honest and share (as much as you can) what you’re going through with those closest to you. Re-live your happiest moments and try your best to smile. I’ve learned that letting the people around in on my journey of healing can relieve the feeling of ‘lonliness’. While no one expects you to automatically bounce back, they won’t know how you feel unless you tell them.
Remember, everyone grieves loss at their own pace. There’s no fool proof way to get through it. Do your research and find your tribe to help you get through it!
What I know for sure is that grieving is a daily process. The process starts with you. Choose joy and healing. I know that Mom would have wanted me to be happy during the holidays.
So, today I affirm: