Grief Help-Dealing With Loss During the Holidays
How do you Deal with Loss and Grief?
How do you deal with grief and loss during the Holidays or at anytime of the year? This has got to be one of the toughest things to go through in life - trying to move on and act like everything is OK while those around you are celebrating Christmas, birthdays or other memorable holidays and events throughout the year. For those of you that have lost a loved one or are going through a separation, divorce, or any other tragic loss you know what I mean. That zombie like state that hits you when that first holiday comes around - and that person you love is no longer here to laugh with, celebrate with or just be with,. That time when you feel like life is barely moving on...and you ask yourself "How can I make it through this?"
This question was posed to me by someone I love today that is having their first Christmas after a 3 year relationship that ended in separation. As the tears rolled down her eyes I could feel her pain because I understand. I have been there and done that, many many times and it never gets easier dealing with a loss or dealing with grief during the holidays. You not only miss that person but you miss everything associated with them - their family, the places you used to go together, the little (or big) traditions that you had together with that person and their family, the times you spent together just enjoying moments in time with them. To that person (and you know who you are - this hub is dedicated to you)
Ideas for Dealing with Grief and Loss
Loss is never easy. Grieving is never easy. As the saying goes that "things get better with time", well that is true. It's not that you ever forget that person, because you don't, but that fresh cut, that piercing pain - it gets a little bit less harsh and cutting as time goes on. The freshness of it fades away to a scar that heals, but still remains. For my own personal life, some of the things that helped me cope with loss and grief during the holidays have been some of the things that I have listed below:
Things to do to that will help you deal with grief and loss:
1) Join an online support group. After I lost both my parents in a 2 year window (we were very close) - I joined an online grief support group for children that had lost their parents. Although I was in my 40's, I was still their child and felt that I needed to be around other people that were going through a similar thing. I tried a face to face support group - but I found for myself that writing, emailing and journaling my thoughts about grief with my online "friends" was more therapeutic for me. It helped me process my thoughts better. And when I say grief is a process - it is - because there are different stages of grief that one goes through in the days, months and years after a loss. No two methods will work the same. Even writing this hub is therapeutic for me, because although grief does lessen in time, that person that you miss is someone that you still miss, whether it's been 5 days or 5 years.
I still miss my parents alot, and it's been over 5 years now.
2) Talk to a good friend. For some people, just having a really good friend to talk to will help you process your loss (just make sure that it's the right one that really understands your situation)
One thing I want to clarify here also is that grief and loss don't just refer to the death of a loved one - grief and loss could mean many things. Perhaps you have lost your home, maybe you have lost your job or you are grieving the loss of your health. All these things can cause you to be sad during the Holidays. You are grieving something you have lost - and it's OK to feel sad about it.
God, Grant me
to accept the things I cannot change
to change the things I can, and
To know the difference.
3) Deal with the pain of your loss and don't run away from it. Embrace those around you but work on yourself and your feelings. Although running may be tempting to do as a "quick fix", the further you run the harder it is to deal with the root of your grief. When I lost my parents I threw myself into trying to help a bunch of other people instead of trying to heal myself first - a "diversion" if you will. I also threw myself into some somewhat meaningless activities and neglected my business - which ultimately hurt our business . In retrospect I should have focused on helping my immediate family and myself to deal with our loss, and got back to work asap. Although the temptation to throw your self into other relationships is very tempting, being in a relationship until you yourself are healed first is a recipe for disaster. On the flip-side, avoid the temptation to become a "work-a-holic", another diversion we sometimes revert to to "avoid" pain.
4) Consider finding a good counselor - even if it's just temporary. A good counselor is someone that you can to talk to that you can share your deep feelings with. Some counselors work on a sliding scale - try calling your local city health department for recommendations or your local mental health services. Seeking a counselor does not mean you can't "handle" your grief - in fact it means just the opposite - that you are seeking to be healthy by dealing with your feelings.
5) Focus on doing healthy things for yourself - working and staying involved with friends and family. Be nice to yourself and eat healthy. It's tempting when we are grieving to forget about our own bodies and taking care of ourselves. Of course this is easier said then done -but it is so important to take care of yourself first - physically, mentally and spiritually.
6) Stay connected to your spiritual roots. I did do some right things during my grief. One of those was staying involved with my church family which helped me walk through my journey of grief. For me, my involvement with my church was critical to my healing. The other critical piece of my healing was my online support group. If you don't belong to a church family, look in your local yellow pages for local churches or church groups. Some churches have grief support groups too.
7) Spend time in your hobby or find a new one. When I was grieving I spent alot of time gardening which was very therapeutic for me (sometimes I probably spent too much time doing it) In gentle moderation though an enjoyable hobby can greatly calm the mind. Writing, drawing, gardening, blogging, keeping a journal and visiting beaches or parks are also calming to the spirit and are relaxing for your body. If you have a dog that is your best buddy, take them to the dog park - sit and watch the dogs play around you and people enjoying themselves - maybe even take your fur buddy on a road trip. These times are good times for moments of reflection. It is healing to watch the life around you.
I got my first ever "own" dog 3 years ago - and we went everywhere together - work, parks, walks and lots and lots of day trips. Spending alot of time with Karma was good for her and good for me (important here though - don't just get a dog or pet because you are lonely, please make sure you really want one and have time for one) From the first few years of spending lots of time with Karma (she is my fur-baby) she has turned out to be truly woman's best friend. Although not as active as we used to be, she still sleeps by my side every night and seems to understand my moods like no one else. I attribute this to the special bond we had during my grieving period.
As I have mentioned here, there are many healthy things that you can do to help with your grief. Not only at the holidays but at anytime of the year. First Christmases, birthdays and special events can be especially hard though. During these times it's even more important to reach out to others around you and to spend time doing nice things for yourself. Dealing with grief and loss is never easy no matter the cause - but you can come through this in a healthy way. I wish you all the best this holiday season and please feel free to leave a comment and express yourself here.
(Dorsi Diaz is freelance writer and publisher here on the Internet. She has experienced firsthand many types of grief and loss. Her hopes are that these ideas presented here will help you in your time of need)