Death, unfortunately, does not have any regard for time. It sometimes takes away someone close to us over the holidays.
Christmas, Hanukah, New Year’s Day and other annual holidays can be a very difficult time for people who have experienced the death of someone they love.
Holidays are meant to be a joyful occasion. However, watching others celebrate while we feel sad, overwhelmed, lonely or scared can be painful.
Coping with a death in your family around the holiday season can be extra difficult as memories of good times and togetherness around holidays remind us of our loss.
Holidays can make us realize how much our lives have been changed by the loss of our loved one. Especially in the first year, we are most likely going to adapt to new holiday rituals and traditions.
While you may feel guilty even thinking about celebrating the holidays after you’ve lost a loved one – the guilt does not serve anyone, and it should not dictate your present and future experiences.
What matters the most is remembering and honoring your loved one by celebrating the holidays and life in general.
The truth is – your loved one would want you to celebrate the holidays and live your life fully.
The first step in coping with grief during this time of the year is to acknowledge that the first holiday season may be challenging, and that you may need extra support.
It helps to make specific plans for the holidays and honor your feelings along the way, committing to only what is aligned with where you are in the grieving process.
Set realistic expectations, and remind yourself that this year is different. Remember too, that sometimes anticipation of something, such as a holiday, can be more difficult than the event itself. So, do your best to avoid canceling the holiday celebration.
At the same time, know that it’s ok to avoid some situations that you don’t feel ready for. Allow yourself time for solitude, but don’t isolate yourself. Allow yourself to feel sadness, anger, and even joy.
Grieving and remembering is a natural part of the process, but it’s much healthier when it’s balanced with planned activities with others, where the present time is embraced.
Remember, you don’t need to do this alone. Asking for the support that you need is more than ok.
Surround yourself with loving and supportive people, and do share memories together. Experiencing comfort, joy and laughter doesn’t mean you have forgotten your loved one.
Also, understanding that every family member may have a unique grief experience and different needs when it comes to celebrating the holidays.
Comfort and joy during the holiday season can come from being of service to others, so consider volunteering, or inviting a guest who might otherwise be alone for the holidays.
Some people find comfort in the old traditions, but maybe you want to create a new holiday tradition or ritual. A bouquet of flowers in memory of your loved one, a commemorative ornament on the Christmas tree or dedicating one of the Hanukah candles, playing your loved one’s favorite music or favorite game, may help to build the new holiday tradition.
In whatever way you decide to spend the holiday season, remember that there is no right or wrong way to celebrate after the death of a loved one – and that they would indeed want you to celebrate.
After all, life is only fully lived and enjoyed when we don’t take any moments or people for granted, and when we gratefully celebrate our life and each other.
As a funeral home in Lancaster PA, we see death every day and feel the pain it sometimes causes, and our biggest wish is for everyone to have more peace and joy this holiday season.
If you have lost a loved one, our funeral directors at DeBord Snyder Funeral Home & Crematory are here for you and your family to provide compassionate care and support before, during, and after the funeral or other services.
When searching for trusted, community-based funeral homes in Lancaster PA, you can rely on DeBord Snyder Funeral Home & Crematory. Contact us today.