Hope for the Holidays


The holidays are upon us. Are you dreading them because your loved one is no longer here? Are you worried that others will not understand? Do you really want to make everyone’s favorite food? Does it feel too overwhelming to be doable? Here are some helpful suggestions:

  1. Write down your fears about the holidays so you know ahead of time and can work through them.
  2. Plan your schedule. Give yourself permission to do the things you can and those you can’t others will.
  3. Break items into a series of small events instead of an endless stream of things that overwhelm you.
  4. Decide what family traditions you want to keep. Maybe it is time to make new traditions and don’t feel guilty about it.
  5. Keep holiday planning and celebrations as simple as you can. Don’t overdo or push yourself beyond your limits. Keep in mind that mail order is available for shopping.
  6. Include your loved one by sharing positive memories. Talk about your feelings by sharing positive memories. It is okay to cry or laugh.
  7. Try a change in traditions. Take a trip or activity that everyone agrees like a movie, bowling, etc.
  8. Remember you can help others by taking care of yourself. Be kind to yourself.
  9. Give of yourself during the holiday season by visiting a nursing home or soup kitchen. Healing comes from doing for others.
  10. Prepare ahead how you are going to respond to cheerful greetings.

A friend once told me and I never will forget, “So. What if you don’t ?”

Is the world going to end? Are people going to be unforgiving? Am I a bad person? Probably not. Do your best – that is all you can do. I remember our first Chanukah without our son Brett. We went to my sister and brother-in-law’s house. Brett died on December 20 and the holiday that year came on December 26. I debated and fretted about what to do. So, we went broken with plenty of tissues. Entering their house I immediately began sobbing. Of course, we had to leave. My heart just wasn’t ready. And you know what? Everyone understood.

Let Me Go

Taken from a poem by Christina Georgina Rossetti

When I come to the end of the road

And the sun has set for me

I want no rites in a gloom filled room

Why cry for a soul set free?

Miss me a little, but not for long

And not with your head bowed low

Remember the love that once we shared

Miss me, but let me go.

For this is a journey we all must take

And each must go alone.

It’s all part of the master plan

A step on the road to home.

When you are lonely and sick at heart

Go to the friends we know.

Laugh at all the things we used to do

Miss me, but let me go.

Bill of Rights for Those Experiencing Grief

Adapted by Silent Grief

Although many people will give you advice, always keep in mind you have basic rights as you experience your grief.

  • You have the right to go from ecstatic to tears.
  • You have the right to be excited about holiday shopping only to get there and need to leave because of overwhelming emotions.
  • You have the right to not be joyful every single moment of the holiday season.
  • You have the right to not send holiday cards or listen to holiday music.
  • You have the right to be quiet, continue to grieve, and be alone when you need to.
  • You have the right to choose not to participate in gift exchanges and/or holiday celebrations.
  • You have the right to look for and feel joy and love in the holidays and life. You have the right to find it on your own and not have it forced on you.
  • You have the right to want to buy your loved one a present and do whatever you want to do with it.
  • You have the right to get to your family’s house late and leave early.
  • You have the right to walk outside and be alone when it gets too overwhelming.
  • I have the right to include my loved one in any activity I want without getting “funny” looks.
  • I have the right to be angry.
  • I have the right to be alone and not have to explain why I want to be alone.
  • I have the right to laugh at unexpected times and hug a pillow and talk to myself when I am remembering.
  • I have the right to long to have my loved one back, to have the life I once had.
  • I have the right to find a way to honor and remember my loved one during the holidays by whatever ritual I feel comfortable with.

Contact SASS: info@sass-mokan.com