By Meredith Rivers
Director of Clinical Support Services
To the bereaved, the relentless holiday season comes uninvited. It’s not something to look forward to, not something to celebrate. When your loved one dies, part of you dies with them and you can’t go on as you did before.
How can you protect yourself from feelings of loneliness, incredible sadness and pain? Not only must you contend with your own feelings and the mythical, antithetical feelings of the world, but you may also have family members who are depending on you to help them cope. When everyone else is busy buying presents, baking, and partying, you feel like crawling into bed and pulling the linens over your head.
This may sound counter-intuitive, but “wallowing” in your grief is my recommendation. Ignoring grief doesn’t make it disappear. Even if grief withdraws for a while, its nature is to return with a vengeance when you least expect it. Instead, make friends with your grief and wrap it around you like a blanket. It may be hard at the time but it can later free up your energy for other things.
Here are some concrete suggestions for dealing with the holidays: