I wish I had a magic wand to make it better but the holiday season won’t go away and we can’t avoid it (even though we would like to). We need to grieve and work through the pain but unfortunately, the holidays often prove to be a stumbling block on our journey from grief to healing.
Holidays tend to intensify grief and feelings of loss as we are flooded with memories of our husbands. Below are some tips that I hope will help you handle the holiday season.
Break with tradition – Sometimes, it helps to change things up.
- You can try inviting someone new to join your family dinner.
- One way to celebrate might be by going to a church service.
- You can reach out to someone in your neighborhood who is alone.
- If the celebration is usually at your house, you can ask your child to host it.
- Or, you can simply choose to ignore the holiday completely. It’s OK if you don’t feel you can handle it. You’re recovering from heartache. You can always return to your old traditions when you’re ready.
Honor your loved one – It may be time for some new memories.
- Some people like to light a candle to remember a loved one.
- Others enjoy taking turns telling favorite stories about the person or sharing meaningful pictures.
- Make some decorations in honor of your husband.
- Instead of a Christmas tree, you can donate a tree.
- A unique way to honor someone is to have a star named after them.
Honor yourself – There’s no right or wrong way to deal with the holidays.
- What do you want to do?
- Be open with your family and friends about your wishes.
- Ask yourself what you feel you can handle.
- You always have choices so don’t let others make your decisions for you.
- You can join family and friends for as long as you’re comfortable.
- Go to events with a friend or family member instead of walking in alone.
- If you may want to leave an event after only 10 minutes, that’s fine.
- At this stage you just want to get through the holidays without a melt down so focus on taking care of yourself and don’t try to please everyone.
My first Christmas, as a widow, I couldn’t stand staying home and so I went visiting everyone. I had three Christmas turkey dinners that year but what I did not do was cook a turkey. I just didn’t have the heart to even try to make a big Christmas dinner. Others like to have the big Christmas dinner at their place because it’s too much of a change not to have it. This is where you decide what you can handle and what you can’t.
There is no way around it, Holidays are draining. Be sure you get enough rest, eat well and try to avoid too many stressful events because the “happy holidays” can be emotionally exhausting.