You Are Not Alone Bow Valley

Grief & Loss Support Counselling

Margaret Claveau

Listen to Margaret on The Mountain Life Podcast.

Coping with Grief over the Holiday Season

My instructor, Jane Simington, Taking Flight International Corporation, devised the following guidelines for coping with grief over the holiday season.

Acknowledge that it may be a difficult time for all. Christmas this year may not be great, so think of what can you do to make it okay.

Decide what you really want and plan for that. Inform your family and friends and ask for help. This will ensure that what you want and need will happen.

There are no right or wrong ways to celebrate Christmas: eat out, go away, do community work, or have someone else do Christmas.

Create new traditions. Buy an ornament commemorating your loved one. Donate to charity the money that you would normally have spent on a gift for your loved one. Make a collage of pictures of past Christmases celebrated with your loved one. Place a plant at the gravesite. Dedicate a special moment with family and friends to share memories of your loved one.

Honour your feelings and let others know that you need them to do so. If you are invited out, you may not be able to stay as long, you may need some quiet, alone time. It is important to inform others of your needs.

Spend time with friends and family who support you, people who can accept where you are at, and people who are not afraid to talk about your loved one.

Spend some money on yourself. It is okay to spoil yourself a little.

Don’t be afraid to experience joy. You can experience joy and be loyal to your loved one.

Honour your true feelings: cry, rage, laugh, smile, take time out. It is okay.

Take care of your physical self: eat well, exercise, and limit alcohol intake.

Find beauty in the season: allow the sights, sounds, and smells of the season to enter into the empty spaces. You are not being unfaithful to your loved one. Take one small step at a time and allow small joys to nourish you.

Go for a winter stroll – nature is healing and cold air invigorating. Nature helps us remember the cycle of life and death and, by doing so, brings new hope and promise into our lives.

Give yourself permission to add some peace-filled moments to this new Christmas. Remember, that this particular Christmas will be part of your life story. Include deeds and celebrations that, when shared years later with someone who is grieving, will allow you to say, “This really worked for me.”

Every year, St. Michael’s Anglican Church, hosts an ecumenical Candlelight Service of Remembrance. For date and time please visit: . This year it was held on December 6.