As Christmas and New Year’s Eve approach, we remember family members and loved ones who are no longer with us, although our loved ones are all around us, helping us to celebrate these dates in the best possible way.
Christmas Bereavement — First Christmas without a loved one
Christmas is for many people the most anticipated time of the year. It allows us to reconnect with family members who live far away and to plan how we are going to fulfill the personal resolutions we have set for the following year.
However, not all families will have the same experience.
Since the recent loss of a loved one will have a great impact on our desire to celebrate as we do every year, it is essential to try to create a new Christmas.
These feelings of agony and sadness are intensified during the first holidays without him or her, and we may even have to adapt to developing these holidays with other rituals than the ones we used to carry out with that person.
Seek comfort in the love of your loved ones
Although it is common to wish to repress Christmas, to stay in bed and not wake up until it is all over, this is a temporary relief that only allows us to postpone, rather than avoid, the sadness.
Suggestions for Christmas mourning
Remember that these events, as well as their organization, will be challenging. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and accept help from family and friends in preparing for the celebration, such as cooking, shopping, and putting up the Christmas tree.
This doesn’t mean you should call off the party.
Understandably, you may not feel prepared to deal with some of the circumstances involved in organizing this holiday, but that does not mean you should isolate yourself during the festivities or postpone the celebration.
You should be accompanied by those we love and who love us during this time. It is common for memories to surface during this time, so do not be afraid to express your sadness or anger.
Everyone expresses these emotions in a unique way
While some people will be indifferent, others will be upset and enraged. But that doesn’t mean they have forgotten the deceased. Every human being experiences grief differently, and so do our expressions of grief.
Symbolizing the deceased loved one
This will give us the impression that he or she is with us, and the whole family can participate in this activity.
You can share memories of your deceased loved one, look at photo albums, listen to music he or she loved, read poetry, or prepare meals you used to share as a family.
Include activities that help you adjust to the situation in a new way.
If you include activities that bring you joy and comfort and omit those habits that might still make you feel sad and hurt, you may find new ways to adjust to the current situation.
Discussion with family is recommended
It is advisable to discuss these activities with your family members, including adults, teens, and children, as well as their requests and the reasons for your decision. You will need to think about such things as where you will spend the holidays and whether you will decorate the house.
When we lose a loved one, there is no right or wrong way to celebrate the holidays. But there is one concrete suggestion you can make: don’t repress or ignore your emotions.
You should not act as if nothing important has happened at this time; instead, give yourself permission to feel sad or cry whenever you want, because trying to hide your emotions will only make things worse.
During this time it will be crucial that you get the support of your loved ones, keep your composure, organize your holiday activities without making demands and avoid isolating yourself from other people.
The vacations will be unique and will be an important challenge for personal growth, since, in the face of sadness, there are only two great options: to grow or to despair.