Grief is a natural response to loss. It is the emotional suffering one feels when something or someone you love is taken away. Grieving is a personal and highly individual experience.
How one grieves depends on many factors, including your personality and coping style, your life experiences, culture, faith and the nature of the loss.
Grief, as painful as it is, is born out of love and is something all of us experience at one time or another. The deeper the love, the deeper the grief.
Grief is always difficult, but this time of year is especially hard. When the stores start stocking their shelves with holiday decorations, Christmas carols begin to echo through shopping malls, and holiday commercials hit the airwaves, our grief feels deeper as memories of past holidays flood our thoughts. We begin to feel isolated, lonely and that everyone else is having the "Hallmark Holiday."
Those once benign reminders become deeply painful and we suddenly wish we could go to sleep in November and wake up sometime after the New Year.
As devastating as the death of a loved one can be, any life-altering experience can trigger a sense or feeling of loss that will bring about grief. These are called life losses and may include:
- Families devastated by divorce
- Individuals without jobs
- Couples facing the holidays alone for the first time as empty nesters
- Facing the holidays without your loved one due to military service
Grief doesn't take a holiday. It demands our full attention now or it will silently wait until later. We have to complete the grieving process in order to heal.
We can prepare ourselves for the holiday season by:
- Taking good care of ourselves. Getting plenty of rest and eating healthy foods are a big part of taking care of our physical self.
- Consider changing an old tradition or adding a new tradition in order to honor the life of your loved one.
- At your family dinner, make a toast or prayer to honor your loved one.
- Make a gratitude table to encourage family members and friends to leave a note or symbol illustrating their gratitude for the loved one.
If you need support during this holiday season, please contact RMH Grief and Loss Services at 540-433-4427.
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