Losing a loved one is never easy, but the holidays can often amplify the emotional aspect.
Anyone who has experienced the loss of a spouse or loved one knows that grief doesn’t take a holiday. For many, the holidays are particularly difficult because their loved ones are no longer able to share in the activities that made the holidays special.
The holidays represent a time of hope, light, and joy—things that may seem out of reach if you’re grieving the loss of a loved one. Though senior loss is an inevitable part of life, it’s never easy for anyone to lose someone they are close to.
But the holidays can still have meaning, even when you’re not able to enjoy them with the ones you held dear. Consider the following ways you can navigate the holiday season in peace and comfort:
Surround Yourself with Other People
Being with other people around the holidays can be difficult after a loss, but it can also be one of the best ways to cope with grief. You don’t have to accept every invitation, but choosing to attend a church service, a holiday dinner, or a shopping trip with someone else can help to lift your spirits—and potentially start a new holiday tradition.
You may also know someone else who is experiencing bereavement during the holidays. Connect with them and offer your support, and they may be willing to do the same. There is strength in numbers, and you may find it easier to spend time with someone else who understands how you’re feeling.
Find Special Ways to Honor Your Loved One
A loss during the holiday season doesn’t mean that you can’t include your loved one in the festivities. Find a unique way to honor their life and keep the memories with them alive.
For example, if your loved one was sick, you could bake cookies and deliver them to the hospital or home health care provider that cared for them.
Or, if you and your loved one used to exchange special gifts, consider purchasing a present that he or she would have loved and donating it to a local charity.
There are countless ways you can spread holiday cheer to others in the name of your loved one, and doing so can also give you the encouragement you need to push forward.
Don’t Try to Do Too Much
The holiday season can be overwhelming for anyone, but grieving the loss of a loved one can make even small tasks like cooking or shopping seem more difficult. It’s okay not to take on as many activities or tasks as you used to. It’s okay to delegate tasks to someone else to lighten your load, or even re-evaluate some of your traditions. Simplifying the holiday season can help you to refocus on what’s important in your life and find new reasons to celebrate while keeping your loved one’s memory alive.
Remember that grieving and healing is a process. Peace and comfort will come over time. You don’t have to pretend to enjoy every moment of the holiday season, but when moments of happiness present themselves, seize the opportunity to find joy in them.