Dealing With Grief During The Holidays: This Time Of Year Can Be Extremely Stressful For survivors Of Loss
By Tracy Renee Lee
November 23, 2023
As the holiday season approaches, many survivors will find that their anxiety levels are rising. The anticipation of these important dates can weigh heavily, and survivors need to make an effort to balance holiday cheer with their battle for grief recovery. Yearning for the deceased is natural, especially during the holidays. An excellent practice to curb the pain of these events is to bring your decedent into your holiday celebrations. Doing so eases the yearning and helps you to feel as though you are honoring your loved one through inclusion.
For example, you might consider serving your loved one’s favorite dish at dinner, and those around the table could share a memorable experience centered on the deceased's life. If someone has one of your loved one's special recipes, they might be invited to bring it to the celebration along with a printed recipe card for those in attendance.
Each year, on my mother’s birthday, I share her favorite candy with my family and friends. I usually bag the candy and attach a photograph of my mother. On the back side of the photograph, I pen an interesting fact about my mother’s life, along with an invitation for my friends to share something about her with me, if they would like to, the next time I see them.
At Christmas, I hang a Christmas ornament on our tree with a photo of her as a child on one side and a photo of her as an adult on the other side. Each year I add a new ornament, and when the time comes, I shall pass these treasures of familial history along to her grandchildren.
These little traditions help me remember my mother and keep her involved in our family moving forward. They also relieve my stress and calm my yearning for her during these special times of the year.
Consider creating a few of your own observances for the holiday season that will help you include your loved one and relieve the underlying tensions that might be building. Doing so might significantly improve your holiday experience.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a Certified Grief Counselor (GC-C), Funeral Director (FDIC), Published Author, Syndicated Columnist, Podcaster and Founder of the “Mikey Joe Children’s Memorial” and Heaven Sent, Corp. I write books, weekly bereavement articles, Podcasts, and Grief BRIEFs related to understanding and coping with Grief. I am the American Funeral Director of the Year Runner-Up and recipient of the BBB’s Integrity Award.
It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.