The holidays can be hard under the best of circumstances. Now, add heartbreak to that overpacked to-do list and you just might find yourself about to break – or even completely broken. Juggling grief and the holidays isn’t easy. Whether you’re trying to deal with a house packed with people, or you find yourself wandering lost through empty rooms that once bustled with activity, you may need some of the help outlined below to make it through.


Acknowledge Your Feelings

“It’s OK to not be OK,” so says grief expert and widow Megan Devine. You don’t have to apologize for being sad even at Christmas.  The fact is, she explains, “grief is not a problem to be solved; it’s an experience to be carried.”  And the shards of hurt that it brings will only feel sharper during the holidays. Give yourself permission to feel it all. Give yourself permission to cry to remember to feel miserable and to even be happy.  Chances are, all of those feelings are going to make an appearance anyway, so why not acknowledge and respect them when they do?

Slow Down

Grieving is exhausting. Whether you lost someone a month, a year, or 10 years ago, there will be feelings and emotions to deal with at every turn in the next few weeks. One of the kindest things you can do for yourself is to slow down and choose only the activities you feel capable of handling. So many times, those around us want to keep the Christmas train rolling down the track at the speed of the past, while you simply want to escape it all.  Slowing down the holiday season is good. It gives you the space to savor the small moments of today, while cherishing the memories of the yesterday.

Lower Your Expectations

The first year after I lost my husband I tried to recreate Christmas as our family always enjoyed it.  But something was missing: HE was missing. Forcing myself to do everything just the same only made that void more intense. The second year I lowered my expectations; not  “forcing” Christmas.  I let go of my expectations and refused to take on those of others. The result: a more peaceful holiday season.
 

Be Kind to Yourself

Any holiday after the death of a loved one can play havoc with your emotions and even your health. This isn't the time to plow through. Take time for yourself, whatever that means. If you need a night to sit in your PJ's and cry, then do it. Maybe you're expected at a party but don't feel like it at the last minute: don't go. Or maybe you do show up and 20 minutes later feel the need to escape - leave. Do what's necessary to allow the freedom to say no and the freedom to change your mind. The holidays are different now that your loved one is gone, and that's going to hurt. But it's also ok and you'll be ok too. 
 

Contact Us

If you're in need of assistance this Holiday season or know of someone who needs help, please contact us and let us know how we can help. If you would like to make a donation in any amount to help us help those who are in need, you can donate here. Thank you for your support. 

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