How to Cope With Grief During…
The holidays create even more pain to those who are suffering grief from the loss of a loved one. It is a painful reminder of those who are no longer in our lives on a daily basis. What should be a festive and happy time does not feel like it for the grief stricken.
Baby boomers have inherited the “stiff upper lip” of our parent’s generation and have also been inundated with expressions such as “get on with life” and “closure” and “getting back to normal.” None of these expressions or attitudes helps the grief stricken, especially during the Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday season. There is an enormous amount of pressure to act “normal” during these holiday times. This seems like an insurmountable task if you’re grieving during the holidays. It’s exhausting.
These five suggestions for coping with the loss of a loved one and grieving over the holidays are from Jane Galbraith, author of Baby Boomers Face Grief: Survival and Recovery. She knows firsthand what it’s like to grieve during Thanksgiving or Christmas.
5 Ways to (Grieve) the Loss of a Loved One
1. Give yourself permission to feel whatever it is you feel. If journaling or using a support group or special person that helps, make sure you take advantage of them during holiday times.
2. Keep up any traditions that your loved one started, and that you can continue. This will help you honor your lost loved one...
3. Try to establish new traditions if you’re grieving during the holidays, which make you and your family feel good about the holiday. Include new activities that everyone enjoys.
4. Talk about your loved one with friends and family and encourage them to share favorite stories with you.
5. Take care of yourself when you’re coping with grief during the holidays. Anything that helps you with healing after loss should be done, such as a long walk, massage, listening to music and getting enough sleep.
...Christmas holidays are difficult, but there are ways to get through them without hiding from the pain. Even though the holiday may not be as happy as last year, the day passes and you do survive!
~Jane Galbraith, BScN, R.N.,
author, Baby Boomers Face Grief – Survival and Recovery*
It's been a trail of tears
as I count up the years
and the distance in long
All those slips and hard slides
filled with rage and false pride
I can trade them today
for a smile
It was a bittersweet ride
as I fought my own tide
and let a cold bell ring
it's sad toll
But my life took a turn
when I started to learn
there's a balm for each
We scramble & fight
for each wrong or right
or injustice that hampers
But to win is surrender
to something more tender
It is sweetness that makes
a life whole
Like a wild, raging river
I vent spleen thru my liver
caught up in my torrents
Like a stick in a gust
my heart nearly bust
from torments that bubbled
It ain't male to fail
(or so goes the tale!)
so from bar-room to jail
So I struggled & yearned
raged loud and was burned
when my flames hurt
and made me
Perhaps I've learned late
that to fight fickle fate
is a lost cause that
leads us to nought
Like a thief or a fighter
my load got no lighter
the harder and harder
Some are torn from their birth
to wander this earth
feeling angry and restless
But the true struggle lay
in surrender today
as I calm my own storm
with sweet oil.
~Andy Mathisen Dec 25th, 2009
If you bring drama and stress into my life, I will quickly and quietly escort you out of my life...just saying...
~Grieving Mother, JW-T
Do you have those conversations with you friends/family who in trying to say the right thing just say the wrong thing. I had a conversation today with one of them after a really tough therapy session and I was explaining how I was feeling, now it's actually not that often that I speak to them about it anymore, I just don't bother and just keep everything for my therapist and tonight I was reminded why!
I was explaining to her that I had a tough session and was telling her that I was really really triggered for the first time one night last week and that my therapist said that this was part of the healing process, well anyway my friend said yes it's all normal and you'll get there and the way she said it I found really patronising, I know that she would never mean to come across that way but sometimes I feel like saying to people - don't tell me what I'm feeling or that it's normal or whatever, you don't know..you don't know what's this is like and just because something is 'normal' doesn't mean that it's not absolute hell to go through, it's painful, hard, frustrating, scary, soul destroying, life destroying so sorry but it's not bloody normal. It's might be a 'normal' reaction to a completely and hugely abnormal situation but it's by no means normal!
Just listen to me and give me a hug if I need it, don't just brush it off and tell me it's normal and it will be all better some day because sorry, none of this is ever going to be normal to me!
Grief is a journey,
often perilous and without clear direction,
that must be taken.
The experience of grieving cannot be
ordered or categorized, hurried or controlled,
pushed aside or ignored indefinitely.
It is inevitable as breathing, as change, as love.
It may be postponed, but it will not be denied.
What can I give to you?
What can I give to you,
This cold, wintery morn?
What gift to leave for you,
On this day that Jesus was born?
I can give to you my heart,
Though shattered and torn.
It has always been yours,
Since the day you were born.
I can give to you my life.
You had made it whole.
Now it knows sorrow,
And grief untold.
I can give to you my dreams,
The ones that we were to share.
But now that you are gone,
They seem empty and bare.
My joy, my laughter,
My hopes and my fears.
I leave them at your grave,
With my unending tears.
My sweet child,
I leave with you my love.
Christmas just isn't Christmas,
Without your gentle hug.
~Grieving Mother Debbie Hardy
In Memory of her daughter, Janet Hardy
- My Precious Son
- Grief is such a lonely place
- I miss your face
- Let you go?
- I don’t know
- How I can.
- But do I really have a choice…
- I have no voice
- In what’s been done
- I love you, my precious son.
- Still feel you here
- And I draw you near
- A part of me
- Always you will be
- Forever? Really? Forever? Without you?
- Remember we’d talk about what if’s? and how?
- its happened now
- I’m here, alone, you’re inside
- Yet I can’t hide
- Tears stream down my face
- I look for you every place… I ever am
- I need you, my son, my friend
- It shouldn’t end.. this way…
- One day
- You were supposed to say
- goodbye to me when I leave this place, looking at my ready face…
- It wasn’t supposed to be you
- If only I knew
- I’d have held you tight
- Even if you’d fight
- And never let you go out that night
- Or I’d have gone with you… to hold you as you were leaving
- forever, I’ll be grieving…
- My heart always bleeding
- My soul forever needing
- My son, my son, my precious son… come home.
- (for my Tommy, love, mom)
- ~By Lynne Serewicz
- for Thomas Joseph Serewicz, Sr. 10/11/1985 ~ 07/17/2010
Letter From Heaven
© Ferna Lary Mills
I felt your soft touch and heard your mournful cry.
You knew I was leaving, but you couldn't grasp "why".
You held onto my hand, your heart heavy with gloom,
As I passed from this lifetime and rose up from the room.
It happened so quickly, in the blink of an eye.
My heart was too weak. No strength for "goodbye".
You saw it, I know, how the light drained from my face,
But you missed HIS great GLORY as it lit up the place.
I yearned so to hold you and say, "It's okay",
But HE took my hand and said, "Let's be on our way."
Please don't grieve for me now, love, for I have not died.
HE just put out this lamp for my dawn has arrived.
Though I'll miss you intensely, as I know you'll miss me,
HE has places to take me, and wondrous things I shall see.
I've been reborn to a place you can't now understand;
A place of Glory, and Peace, nestled in HIS right hand.
Yet I'll be with you always, only a faint breath away.
My love shall be with you every moment...every day.
And although I don't know yet every step of HIS plan,
Rest secure in the knowledge that we WILL meet again!
Merry Christmas From Heaven
I still hear the songs,
I still see the lights
I still feel your love on cold wintery nights
I still share your hopes and all of your cares
I'll even remind you to please say your prayers
I just want to tell you, you still make me proud
You stand head and shoulders above all the crowd
Keep trying each moment, to stay in His grace
I came here before you to help set your place
You don't have to be perfect all of the time
He forgives you the slip, if you continue the climb
To my family and friends,
Please be thankful today
I'm still close beside you,
In a new special way
I love you all dearly,
Now don't shed a tear
Cause I'm spending my
Christmas with Jesus this year
~ John William Mooney, Jr. ~