Holidays can arouse grief as well as joy. The season will be much more fulfilling if you can find a place for both your grief and the joy of the season.
Life goes on they say, but how can it, how dare it without our loved one?
Are love and grief forever linked? Life is full of wonder and sadness, pleasure and pain, birth and death, darkness and lightness. We laugh at weddings and weep at funerals. In the end there is a time to dance and a time to cry. Unfortunately our culture values fun and has little time for grieving.
Sadly we are better at taking drugs for our pain than facing death and grief. Better at wearing our “mask” than giving an honest answer to the question, “How are you really doing?”
Though it’s easier to talk about almost anything than the dead, the dead are what mourners most need to talk about – especially jurying this festive season. Therefore please do not shy away from sharing your memories.
Don’t try to get through the holidays by behaving as if nothing has happened. Instead acknowledge the loss, the grief and the missing space at the table. If somebody is not at the table who was there last year, it is a wonderful time for everyone to take a moment to talk about their memories and recall what they miss and what they loved about that person. Everyone is already thinking about that person so it’s better to just speak our feelings out loud.
Pretending that everything is fine when everything isn’t just adds to the stress everyone is feeling. The only way to survive the holiday season after the death of a loved one is to make time for memories. Say their names out loud, tell and retell the same old stories, tales of love, laughter, what was most memorable and what we miss the most.
Stories are the fabric that weaves our families together. Storytelling can be done naturally when sitting around the table or relaxing by the fire. Or it can be more formal by each family member writing out a story about the person they had lost and then creating a memory book. Life does go on but let’s take a portion of the past with us, hold onto it so we can pass it on. Sometimes we will cry, sometimes we will laugh – both are gifts of healing.