Coping with Grief and Loss During the Holidays

I wish I could just wave my magic wand to help you with your grief all the time but especially during the holidays. Unfortunately, this is not possible. Even if I did have a magic wand, it would not help everybody as no two loves are exactly alike which is what makes grief so difficult. Also, no two people are exactly alike. Some are weak, others strong. Some carry their negative emotions forever while others are able to release them quickly. It is all up to you to do what makes YOU and no one else feel better to help you cope with life after a passing of a love one during the holidays.

I am no stranger to grief. In 56 years of life, I have lost everyone and everything. I have no children, no more pets although I will say my dogs brought me great comfort in my times of grief. Unfortunately, they too had passed by the time my last surviving relative; my mother had passed.

My mother passed the week before thanksgiving and 6 weeks before Christmas. Until that time, I had spent every Christmas with my parents.  My father passed 4 years before my mother so the last couple of Christmas’s were just me and her and an occasional friend.

The first thanksgiving I just wanted to be alone even though I had many invites. I actually did better than I expected until I had to clean up my own mess. That year for Christmas, my friends insisted I join them on a gambling weekend. At the time it seemed like a good idea to get away from everything that was familiar to me. Guess what? It wasn’t! I drank waaaay too much which just adds to the depression. I came home a few days later a broken mess. I didn’t want to get out of bed or face life in any way. But you know what? The world doesn’t care. Bills kept coming in and there were things I had to do to finalize everything for her. I think one of the hardest things I had to deal with was opening up her Christmas cards and not being able to respond to people to let them know she had passed.

4 Months passed and I had done basically nothing with my life until I signed up for a 10-day book writing seminar. I had no dreams of ever becoming an author however within 3 days I wrote my first of 4 books, Last Soul Standing Surviving my Last Surviving Relative. I couldn’t believe how healing that was for me! I was able to release pent up emotions in a healthy way while forgiving a few people as well! I will write more details about this in another blog as I want to focus this blog for surviving the holidays without a love one by your side.

I did want to bring up writing which may help you as well. Write a letter to your passed love one. You can even place it in a balloon and send it up to heaven. For the first few years, I could not bear to look at pictures. Now they bring me comfort. Bake or cook some family traditions or as I did in my case made new things. Some good, others not so much but it certainly helped to keep my mind off of my grief. Perhaps take a trip to somewhere you have not ever been to before. Take up a hobby. Dancing, writing, creating, singing playing a musical instrument are great ways to help you take your mind off your heart.

Here it is 13 years later. I believe this is the first thanksgiving I spent alone and I was fine! Many Christmases I have spent alone. The past 4 years I went to a friend’s house where not only her but her mother and I enjoyed the holiday. Don’t think the first year will be your worst. For me it was my second year but that is when I discovered Christmas Story on Tv for the first time. I cried most of the way through it. BTW tears are another healthy way to release negative emotions It’s a sign of strength not weakness. I have made that a yearly tradition for me. When I’m feeling particularly down which thankfully isn’t often, I like to light a good scented candle and put on some music or watch a good movie. I also like to escape by reading a book. Anything that can occupy your mind in a healthy way.

However I would love to add what has helped me the most, is my faith, trust and belief in the Angels and all of the spiritual world of the white light which I like to call the Guys. I never lost my faith and trust in Them however when my mother didn’t pass for two days after I got “the call,” I did get mad at God. Crying I said why can’t you just take her. That night she did pass.

Your “Guys” can help you more than you will ever realize or understand. No amount of drugs, alcohol, food, anything addictive can help you as much as They can. Other human things may help you mask your pain for a while, but only you can learn to cope with the pain of grief to begin to cope and yes enjoy life as well!

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