Dealing with Grief on Special Occasions
Whether this is the first year we are without that special someone, or they have been missing for years, holidays and anniversaries can be a challenging time and can often heighten bereavement. On these occasions, is important to find new ways of keeping their spirit alive within us as we move forward and make new memories.
Know you are not alone and it is perfectly normal to find feelings of melancholy replacing feelings of joyfulness or feeling like you are taking a few steps back on this journey without a loved one. Everyone has different ways of coping with loss, some may decide they don’t celebrate special occasions, while others choose to throw themselves into the celebrations to mask that unbearable sense of unreality, emptiness, or, even, guilt. All these feelings are normal, they are part of what makes up bereavement and accepting that they are normal emotions will help us along the journey.
If you find yourself alone during the holidays or special occasions and experience deep unpleasant feelings, we urge you to be kind to yourself. Don’t create unachievable expectations, be prepared to be overwhelmed by your emotions and don’t look for a cure. The only way to truly move forward is to accept those feelings. Instead, try to accept that things are now different, and maybe give some thought to the following tried and tested ideas:
Consider accepting an invitation from family, friends, or people who understand what you are going through and who will allow you to take the day at your own pace. This way you will be experiencing something different, which will be the start of creating new memories.
Start a new tradition of maybe raising a glass in a toast or lighting a candle, visiting a favourite place, or watching a favourite movie. Your special person is there with you in spirit.
Talk to people about your loved one if you can. Share stories with them of past holidays or anniversaries. Don’t exclude him or her from those special occasions as there will be parts of it that you will be able to enjoy whilst other parts will leave you feeling desperate. Try to accept both bits are different sides of the same coin.
Finally, St Wilfrid’s Hospice Family Support Team can always be contacted at 01243 775302, simply ask for a referral to the team. However, we hope you will find peace and joy amongst those you share it with.