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11-14-2015 10:01 AM
I am so sorry for your loss. The loss around the holidays are especially brutal. Grown-ups have their own way of dealing with grief, one size does not fit all. My experience was losing a beloved sister-in law who left young children. We followed the children's lead and decorated my brother's house and still had all the traditions that they so remembered and loved. My advice is to speak with your family and decide how to honor and remember the loved one as you think they would want you too. No matter what you decide to do it will be hard but, if their are young adults and children around the grown-ups will lead by example and demonstrate what loving families do.
11-14-2015 10:16 AM
I had a conversation with my doctor about taking an anti depressant for a few months after a sudden and tragic loss. I seemed to be feeling sadder rather than better as the first few weeks went by. She and I chose a medication that helped immensely. It just makes the pain less acute so that it is possible to think of good things and let time go by to make life better. This worked like a miracle for me. I do not intend to do this forever but appreciate my doctor's support and feel much more able to deal with life and be glad to wake up each morning. My friends who have lost loved ones recommended this to me and they were right.
11-14-2015 10:51 AM
I'd like add just one more thought.
The common thought is that the holidays should be all happiness and laughter and that's fine, but there is NOTHING WRONG with tears, even tears of grief and sadness at the holidays. Tears are healing and during the holidays, more than ever, those tears can come at unexpected times. Don't hide from them and please don't apologize to anyone for them or chastise yourself for them. I found that first Christmas that my tears seemed more tangible and specific if that makes sense. Up until then, I think I was in a fog just making it through each day. Embracing those ornaments and memories was my first step, I believe, in healing.
The holidays are forever changed, but as time goes by those changes become the new normal and as others have already said, as time goes by the memories offer more joy than sadness. I have to be honest, the sadness never goes completely away. I once told my family Dr that I was afraid I was permanently broken because after 10 years I still had moments of intense sadness. He reassured me that I wasn't broken, I was human and I shouldn't be afraid of the sadness or try to hide it or ignore it. If the sadness is interfering with living it is time to seek counseling, but sadness and grief are part of life.
11-14-2015 12:50 PM
As others have said, grief is personal. How you express it and how you cope, no one can give you a one size all formula.
I caught myself going from victim to martyr and neither are a good place to be. I asked myself what that person would want for me? To go on, br happy and enjoy the memories.
I gave cash gifts to my local homeless shelter in a loved ones name. Donations to Toys for Tots in anothers name.
I also cook, bake and set a beautiful table in loving memory of my grandmother who worked tirelessly, didnt complain about itall being too much of a bother.
11-14-2015 01:00 PM
My parents were in a auto accident on Nov 16,1991 that paralysed my dad and killed my Mom. That year the holidays were a total blur, actually the next 7 months until my dad succumbed to his injuries were just one horrible day after another. Time does eventually heal all wounds. Time does eventually get you through all the legal aspects of something like this and , once again you can have a normal life. Until then all you can do is cry when you need to, lean on those who support you and ignore those who don't. Sadly for me my DH was not supportive at all - he just could not see any other POV but his and he constantly nagged at me because he wasn't able to make everything be as HE wanted it. So instead he added about 50% more angst to my situation, which was pretty intolerable, and our marriage has not been the same since. So, I guess some things just don't actually fully recover.
11-14-2015 01:58 PM
Two of my close friends have had deep struggles to move forward after losing loved ones. My challenge to both of them in that first holiday season when neither knew how they would ever get thru those days, was to live it in the way their loved one would have. The friend who couldn't bear the thought of putting up a tree because their loved one looked forward to that, now displays the most beautiful Christmas tree in her front window every year. Both women have now found strong support systems in a church, and are the first to volunteer to help others in their struggles. My friends have done many good things in memory of their loved ones, but they have also helped themselves find the peace they truly needed.
11-14-2015 10:28 PM
I allow myself to feel whatever emotions I am going through. I get depressed, I grieve, I cry. I allow myself all the time I need to deal with these feelings, then move on. I don't push myself into decorating for Christmas. If I feel like putting up decorations, fine. If not, that is fine too. Don't put any more pressure on yourself than you can handle. Don't try to impress others.
11-15-2015 06:23 AM - edited 11-15-2015 08:15 AM
@violann, I am very sorry for your loss. Grieving is so different for everyone, I sure can empathize with you and our other posters..
My Mom passed away at Christmas 86, then my Dad Thanksgiving 2006. That forever changed my holidays & the celebration will never be the same for me. It has taken me years to just acknowledge them but that's how I am..
Hugs to everyone..
11-15-2015 06:34 AM - edited 11-15-2015 06:34 AM
I don't believe there are any tried and true methods unfortunately. And everyone deals with grief in their own special way. Holidays are so difficult as these are the times most associated with happiness and being together with family and friends. When you are faced with the loss of a dear, close loved one, it alters your perception of all of that from that day forward.
All I can suggest is that time does heal to a certain degree. I know that a person needs time to grieve and it does no good to try and cover up the feelings or try and pretend to be happy and act like things are normal, because they are not.
If putting up the decorations, etc. is far too painful at first, then I would say to not do it.
I also would suggest that perhaps if a person could offer to help out with others less fortunate that this could perhaps give a person a sense of purpose and help to get the person's mind off of things a bit. Maybe go to a nursing home and visit and offer help or to a homeless facility and help out. Or try an animal shelter and help feed, care for and walk the dogs and cats there.
It's hard to say really, because what might comfort one person might bring more distress to another.
Most importantly, having a family member or friend to talk with and share these feelings is more helpful than anything.
11-15-2015 06:35 AM
So sorry for your loss and the holidays are really difficult. The first Christmas after my fathers passing was really difficult. What I did was buy a pillar candle and a gold toned angel ornament. I attached the ornament to the candle buy wrapping gold toned ribbon around it and made a bow. I placed the candle in the dining room where were eatting and lit the candle. I explained to my family and relatives it was a symbol that my father was still here in spirit. They all loved that idea. If we travel somewhere else for the holidays I bring it with me. I've been doing this for years now. Darn Alzheimers. He was only 69.
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