Most people are excited and happy during the holiday season. This unfortunately is not the case for everyone. Many people dread the holidays. For some of us the holidays bring memories of loved ones who are no longer with us. Others may be grieving the loss of the way things used to be, as a result of a divorce, separation, or other loss. Whatever the situation, we should remember and respect those that may be grieving during this season. Grief is a normal reaction to loss of any kind. Grief is painful. It is experiencing one of the most painful emotions in life. Be kind to yourself if you are grieving and try not to judge yourself. There is no recipe for the grieving process. I often tell my clients to allow themselves to feel and experience their grief. Many people find ways to do this by honoring the memories of the past. Holidays can magnify the loss and we may find ourselves wanting to isolate and avoid the celebrations.
For friends and family members who are supporting one who is grieving, I encourage you to support your loved one in the way they want you to support them. One of the biggest mistakes that family and friends make is to try to tell the person who is grieving how to feel. Allow them to feel and experience every emotion they need to. Your role is just to validate their feeling and allow them the space to express it without judgement. The best thing you can do is be a listening ear, or just be there as support.
A few tips for those grieving this holiday season:
- Protect yourself
- But don’t isolate
- Do what you want this season
- Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling
- Be authentic with how you feel
- Cry if you need to
- Reach out to others or allow them to reach out to you
- Begin to set new traditions at your own pace
- Remember there is no right or wrong way to grieve
Dr. Martina Moore
Moore Counseling & Mediation Services, Inc.