It’s that time of year again. The time we celebrate the birth of our Savior, spend countless hours shopping and planning, and spend quality time with our loved ones. Although there is joy in this season, this season can also bring about stress. And for many of us, this stress is compounded when we realize there’s one less person on our shopping list and an empty stocking hanging on the fireplace.
Grief. During this season of joy, what do you do with grief for those you’ve lost? Here are three things that can help get you through this difficult time and help you honor your loved one:
Recognize the emotions of grief
Loss. Disappointment. Sadness. Anger. Emptiness. Anxiety. Fear. Sorrow. Betrayal. Apathy. Abandonment. Resentment. Envy. Pain. Dread. Loneliness. Longing. Shock. Guilt. Irritability. And even…relief. All of these are normal to feel when someone we love is gone.
Allow yourself time to mourn
Just like you intentionally plan to make the holiday season special, intentionally give yourself permission and space to grieve and go through the emotions you’re feeling. You can do things like journal, cry, release anger through exercise, look through photographs, listen to music that reflects your feelings, talk about your loss, draw, paint, color, and/or pray and spend time with God. Even taking just 5-10 minutes per day can help.
Do things to honor your loved one and invite their memory into the celebration
This can be done by lighting a candle, having everyone share and write down memories of the lost loved one and putting them in their stocking, making a playlist of the loved one’s favorite Christmas songs to listen to, donating a gift in their honor, cooking their favorite holiday meal, and continuing the holiday traditions they enjoyed.
We all grieve differently, and grief can be especially difficult during this time of year. The pain doesn’t ever go away, but we can be intentional about working through our grief and allowing our loved ones to continue to be a part of our lives.
“Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4
Wishing you “tidings of comfort and joy” this Christmas season.