Grief is a difficult emotion to manage at any time, but it can be particularly challenging during the holidays. The holidays are when we are supposed to be surrounded by loved ones celebrating, which can make feelings of loss and loneliness even more acute. However, some strategies may help you manage your grief during the holiday season while also honoring the person who passed. In this blog, we outline some of them. We hope you find the information helpful.
“Love never goes away,” said Hospice of Redmond Bereavement Coordinator Kat. “The relationship will never end, and love is undying. It doesn’t matter how long they’ve been gone; the love will still be present, and they will still be missed.”
The Three C’s of Grief
The three C’s of grief are a model that helps us understand the common reactions people experience when they are grieving. Using the three C’s can be helpful any time of the year, particularly during the holidays. While the C’s can vary by author, the model’s foundation remains the same.
The three C’s stand for:
- Caring: This refers to the emotional pain and sadness of losing someone we care about deeply. We must allow ourselves to feel this pain, as it is a natural part of the grieving process. If a friend was struggling and in need of a nap, you would tell them to take the nap. Give yourself that same courtesy by listening to cues of how you feel and caring for yourself in the same way you’d care for someone else. Love yourself and let yourself heal.
- Coping: Coping refers to the ways we manage and deal with our grief. This can include seeking support from others, engaging in self-care activities, or finding ways to honor the memory of our loved one (some ideas for this are shown below). Saying no is an important demonstration of self-care. It is essential that you not feel obligated to participate in events that increase your pain. Permit yourself to say no if participating doesn’t feel right.
- Continuing: Continuing refers to adjusting to life without our loved ones. This can be a difficult and ongoing process, but we can learn to find meaning and joy in life again with time and support. Continuing is only possible with compromise. Each person deals with loss in their own way, and it is important to respect one another while allowing yourself to heal.
Support for Managing Grief
It’s important to remember that grief is a process and that it’s okay to feel a range of emotions during this time. Permit yourself to grieve, and don’t be afraid to seek support if needed. Hospice of Redmond offers grief support groups. In addition, churches, community organizations, and other hospices throughout the country are available as a resource. Make use of them if needed. Kat also extends her support to anyone in need. Just give her a call at the office. Lastly, many great apps provide grief support. A few of Kat’s favorites include Grief Refuge, Untangled Grief, and Grief Works. These apps are great for navigating grief after the loss of a loved one. Many grief apps include daily meditations and in-the-moment support for managing difficult emotions.
Tips for Honoring Lost Loved Ones During the Holidays
Honoring a lost loved one during the holidays can be a meaningful way to keep their memory alive and cope with your grief. Here are some tips that may help:
- Light a candle in their memory: Lighting a candle is a simple yet powerful way to honor your loved one during the holidays. You can do this on your own or as a part of a family ritual.
- Incorporate their favorite activities or traditions: If your loved one had a favorite holiday activity or tradition, consider incorporating it into your celebrations. This can help you feel closer to them and keep their memory alive.
- Create a memory box or scrapbook: Putting together a memory box or scrapbook of your loved one can be a therapeutic way to process your grief and remember them during the holiday season.
- Make a donation in their name: Donating to a cause that was important to your loved one can be a meaningful way to honor their memory during the holidays.
- Write them a letter: Writing a letter to your loved one can be a cathartic way to express your feelings and thoughts during the holiday season. You can keep the letter or read it aloud as a way of communicating with them.
- Share stories: Talk about your loved one and invite others to participate. Share funny stories and significant memories. Opening up a dialogue about your loved one gives family and friends permission not to act as if there is an elephant in the room.
Remember, there is no right or wrong way to honor your loved one during the holidays. Do what feels meaningful and healing to you.
“Understand that you or others may not feel like participating in the holiday, and that is okay,” said Kat. “Forcing oneself to put on a happy face or mask to hide feelings is unhealthy. Don’t do things out of obligation. Instead, be honest about how you’re feeling and what you need.”
Help is available whenever you need it. Call Hospice of Redmond at (541) 548-7483 so we can provide you with tools to help you manage your grief so you can begin to heal.