As children, we never wanted the holidays to end. But when you are grieving hard and the grief is raw, most cannot wait for the holidays to be over. In fact, many would tell you that if they could, they would gladly climb in a time machine and jettison into the future right past Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year’s. And who can blame them? It’s lonely to be in a world where it seems as if everyone is merry and joyful and you are not. It’s hard, real hard, to be surrounded by people who are happy and then expect you to be happy too.
How can you survive the holidays when you are grieving?
One main gift you can give yourself this holiday season (and every other season of the year) is to tell others what you need.
Listen, they already know that your loved one died. They already know you are grieving. And most of them don’t expect you to put your grief on hold from November 27th to January 2nd. They know all this, but what they don’t know is what you need UNTIL you tell them.
The Guessing Game
You see, I have seen families and friends get in a vicious cycle called the guessing game. The one who is grieving will sometimes expect that those who love him/her should know what they need. They reason that if their family and friends really loved them and knew them that they, the griever, should not have to tell them what they need. They should already know!
Then I talk to family members and friends and they tell me that they don’t know what to say or what to do. And sometimes this “not knowing” leads them to do…nothing. This usually further injures the griever because either nothing was said or done or the wrong thing was said or done. It’s a vicious cycle.
You have got to break that cycle. What you need is not obvious. Grief is such a unique monster that what you may need now may not be the same thing that you need a month from now, three months from now, a year from now, etc. Furthermore, what you need to grieve and mourn this time may not be the same thing for another death you may grieve down the road. So please, please don’t make your loved ones guess. Tell them what you need because in most cases your loved ones want to give you what you need, they just don’t know what it is.
Facing and surviving the holidays is tough. But by expressing what you need and getting what you need, you just might end up stronger on January 2nd than you were on the day before Thanksgiving. That is my hope for you.
Come to Our Holiday Seminar and Get Support
Halcyon Hospice is offering help for you this holiday season. We will be presenting heartfelt and practical suggestions for how you can not only survive the holidays, but thrive through them. This 90-minute seminar will take place at our various facility partners throughout the Atlanta and Valdosta areas and include a nice balance between lecture and interactive activities. You can also receive a brochure entitled Living with Loss while Others are Celebrating. For more information please contact me at 678-943-0991 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.