Gearing Up for the Holidays When You’ve Lost a Loved One

It may seem like summer just ended, but the holiday season is fast approaching. This time of year can be warm and wonderful, with happy feelings of nostalgia and good times celebrating with family and friends. If you’ve recently lost a loved one, though, the holidays can be a tough time. Do you have a plan for coping?

One of the most important things you can do is to be proactive, making your own decisions about holiday celebrations and how you want to handle them.

  • Decide which traditions to keep and which to lose. You may have always hosted Thanksgiving for your family, or put up elaborate Christmas decorations at your home, or you may have a tradition of attending certain events each year. This year may be a little bit different because you might not be interested in doing all of the things you traditionally enjoy. Some treasured traditions may be too painful in the wake of a loss. It might be time to ask someone else to assume hosting duties, scale back on your décor or attend only those events that give you a sense of peace and well-being. It’s completely your decision, so take some time to think about what’s most important to you.
  • Don’t be afraid to turn down invitations. If it seems like it will be too painful to attend certain events, feel free to say no. The people in your life will understand that you’re having a hard time and can’t be as available for social events as you normally would be. On the other hand, make sure to consider each invitation without rejecting each one automatically: it’s important to maintain connections with your friends and family during this difficult time in your life.
  • Have a plan in place so you can easily leave if it becomes too much. When you do attend events, don’t get stuck riding with someone who is planning to stay for the whole event. Whether you’re able to bring your own car or you have an alternative ride home, making a plan in advance to duck out if you need to.
  • Take some time during the holidays to reflect and remember. You may want to find a memorial service to attend, visit a church and light a candle, or take some time by yourself to look through old photos and think about happy times you shared with your loved one. Whatever works for you is perfectly fine because taking that time of reflection can help you on your path toward healing.
  • Be gentle on yourself. The pain following the death of someone important isn’t something you can just shake off- nor should you. Think about how you would care for someone you love who was experiencing the same kind of pain and be just as tender with yourself.  Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and spending time doing the things that make you happy.

Grief is a universal condition, and yet it’s unique to each person who experiences it. Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park & Crematory understands how difficult this time can be. If you need grief support, we can provide you with resources that may be helpful. Call us at (253) 948-9895 for more information, or visit us online for grief and healing support.

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