Survival, getting through, trying not to think too much . . . Yes, believe it or not, I'm talking about the holidays. Handling them after the death of a significant loved one can be brutal. The heart is filled with anguish and no amount of festivities can ease the pain.
Many want to hide, or close their eyes and not wake up till January 2.
We put so much emphasis on making the holidays happy and joyful, that often we wonder why those sentiments are so important for us. Can we have a season that is more reflective? Can we dare to let ourselves and others shed tears even while hanging the twinkling Christmas tree lights? Can we be real?
Deep down we know that Christmas is not all about unending joy because of a new diamond or a skateboard or even a BMW. Christmas is the gift of God with us. He came as a baby to live among us in this sad world. He wants to be with us during those times when we feel sorrow, regret, and even when our hope dwindles. He wants to be our hope.
Here are a few tips that I've found helpful on how to deal with the Christmas and New Year's season. These are especially for those who are new to this rocky path of grief and loss.
Remember Your Loved One Don't neglect his memory and all he means to you. Do something in his honor---write a poem, give to a charity he liked to support, bake her favorite Christmas cookie.
Write About It Journal a few lines each day if you can. Writing releases pent-up frustration.
Think of Others Chances are, you are not the only one who is missing a loved one and days gone past. Reach out to others who are also having a difficult time this season. People are laid off, lose loved ones, and hurt from broken relationships every December. You can listen and extend concern. That gesture will help your friend and help yourself.
Take it Slow You don't have to accept every invitation for each musical program or dinner. Don't overextend. Wherever you do choose to go, take plenty of soft tissues.
Get Plenty of Rest Don't burn the candle at both ends. Get the sleep you need. Grieving takes a toll on the body and so can the season before you. Replinish your body with the best sleep possible every night so that you have energy to face each day. Things go better with sleep.
My prayer is that God will be real to you this season and meet you in your grief.
Want to hear more about tips on getting through the tough part of the holidays? Join me for The Vital Connection on WHKP radio on Monday, December 3rd, at 10 AM EST.