“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” and for many people, the holiday season is; however, for those who lost a loved one, the holiday season lacks the usual joy it once held.
The first holiday without a loved one may feel like an array of emotions, most of them being different and confusing. The annual traditions you once had are disrupted without the physical presence of a loved one. By creating new traditions, families can honor their loved one’s memory while coping with grief.
The first year without a loved one is often the hardest, and it’s even more difficult during the holidays. While although you may feel the desire to not participate in all the holiday events, it is important not to isolate yourself. Only do what you feel up to, and it’s okay to sit some events out if you need some time alone to grieve. There’s no right or wrong way to grieve, so it will be different for everyone
There’s an added pressure to feel joyful during the holidays, but you don’t have to be happy all the time. It’s okay to cry and show your emotions; it’s a completely healthy and normal way to grieve your loss. The key is to remember to take care of yourself and ask for help if you need it. Your family members can lean on each other for support and grieve as a family while you’re together for the holidays.
There is a secondary loss of annual traditions with your loved one. The holiday traditions won’t be the same without them, but by creating new traditions to honor your loved one, it can help you feel their presence with you during the holidays. These new traditions can be passed down from generation to generation so your loved one’s memory lives on forever in your hearts.
Some ideas of new traditions are:
- Volunteer together in your loved one’s honor, such as at your local nursing home or food shelter
- Visit your loved one’s gravesite or memorial site and leave some flowers.
- Donate to an organization or cause that your loved one was passionate about.
- Look through old photos and share your favorite stories and memories of your loved one.
- Bake your loved one’s favorite holiday treat.
Creating meaningful mementos to remember your loved one can also be a way to honor their memory while easing your grief and helping you feel close to them.
Some ideas for mementos are:
- Creating a memorial ornament in their honor.
- Make little bookmarks with your loved one’s name on it to give to your family members
- Give everyone one of your loved one’s items, such as jewelry or small trinkets.
- Decorate a memorial candle and light it in your loved one’s honor.
- Putting together a scrapbook or video tribute.