Healing Hearts During the Holidays

For many people the holiday season is filled with joy, laughter and togetherness. It is a time we spend with our loved ones, making memories that will last a lifetime. However for many others there may be just a little less joy this year. As a former hospice social worker, I know all too well how many families will be spending these holidays without their loved one. For many this holiday season will bring fourth feelings of sadness and pain. My hope is that this post will help someone out there learn that you can experience joy during the holiday season after the loss of your loved one.

Grief is a natural reaction to loss. It is a multifaceted experience, and we all have our own way of grieving. Although this post will focus on grieving as a result of a death, it is important to note that death is not the only reason we grieve. We can also grieve the loss of an important relationship, a job, and our independence, just to name a few. Whether your grief is a result of a death, or another circumstance, it is essential to learn to cope with your grief in an appropriate way. If you feel unsure about whether your grieving process is “normal” please seek the assistance of a qualified professional.

With Thanksgiving now behind us and Christmas quickly approaching, it is normal to feel that your sadness and pain have magnified. Realizing that your loved one is no longer here to partake in these events can be particularly painful. While you acknowledge your pain, try to also find joy by reliving the memories you shared with them. Take the time to share some of your favorite stories, or have everyone share their funniest memory of your loved one. Say a special prayer in honor of their memory. You can also honor them by lighting a candle, volunteering your time with an organization they loved or by cooking their favorite recipe. Take the time to reminisce about them and the impact they made in your life.

Additional ways to cope with grief appropriately include: allow yourself to feel sad, eat a balanced diet, exercise, avoid things that numb your pain such as alcohol and drugs, go to counseling, or join a support group, go to church and pray.

However you choose to spend this holiday season, remember to do what is right for you. We all have our own way of grieving and what is right for me may not be right for you. You may not feel up to celebrating the holidays this year, and that’s okay. Take the time you need to grieve and work through your pain.

I would love to hear how you have honored your loved ones during the holidays, and how you have coped with your grief. Leave your comments down below!

Psalm 147:3

He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds

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