Finding Peace During The Holidays When Your Loved One Has Passed

One of the biggest challenges of grief is allowing yourself to enjoy the holidays when a loved one has passed away. You may be thinking "the holidays are not going to be the same," "how are we going to keep our traditions the same?" These are all thoughts that individuals have when they have lost someone important to them.  You may be asking yourself, does it ever get easier during the holidays when a love one has passed away? Whether this is your first or fifth year without a loved one during the holidays, each year presents new emotions and challenges. 

Accepting that your love one won't be with you during the holidays is a difficult task, but they would want you to be able to find peace and enjoy yourself. One important thing is to give yourself permission to change traditions. If your loved one use to have a holiday at their house, it is okay for another family member to have the holiday. Don't isolate yourself at home because you can't have the same tradition you use to. Identify your thoughts and feelings about having the holiday at someone else's house and try your hardest to make peace with the change.

Be honest with your friends and family about the challenges you are experiencing in regards to your loved one being gone during the holidays. If they are aware of what you are experiencing they will be more understanding of your thoughts and feelings.   

Involve your passed love one during your holiday celebration. Create a piece of them (picture, basket, candle, stocking, ornament, etc) and have a moment where you can talk about the loved one. This will help you feel like they are with you and also keep their memory alive. You can talk about your favorite memories of them during the holidays.

Have an escape plan. As hard as it is, push yourself to go to a holiday party you are invited to, but have a plan to leave if you are having a difficult time. It is okay to feel sad about your loved one not being there for a holiday they use to be at. Communicate with your friends and family before the holiday and let them know that you are going to do your best to stay at the event, but if it becomes too difficult you will need to leave.

Give yourself time and the ability to feel joy and happiness during the holidays. It takes time to accept that your loved one is not around for the holidays. The grief and mourning process takes time and it is okay. It doesn't make you less strong to experience these emotions. Sometimes people feel bad for experiencing joy and happiness during the holidays when a loved one has passed. Your loved one would want you to move on with your life and enjoy the holidays. As challenging as the holidays can be, be mindful of your thoughts and feelings and identify your limits. You can only do so much.

If you feel like you are struggling with grief and are unsure of how to cope with the challenges of your loved one's passing, contact a counselor. Life Balance Counseling in Schaumburg has a Certified Grief Counselor on staff. Please feel free to call our office at 888.234.7628 or contact us online.