The holidays are upon us and for those in grief, holidays may be the last thing that we want to think about. Holidays bring up past memories when our loved ones were with us - and it's extremely painful to be separated physically.

We not only have to deal with our own pain of loss, but of other family members as well. And the grief is different for each person within the immediate family structure. Some individuals experience with grief will shake their very core, while others seemingly take it in stride. This difference in grief experience very often seems to pit one loved one against another because neither one can understand why the grief is so apparently different than their own. Resentment starts to build.

Those that are outside of the immediate family - the web of extended family and friends - probably are not capable of understanding grief and why the pain endures over an extended time. Unless a person has personally experienced the loss of a close loved one, they are incapable of understanding the depth of emotion and despair that come out of the mourning process. And without this understanding, they are at a complete loss when the grieving person cannot just "get over it" or "snap out of it" - much less to understand why the holidays are a very stressful ordeal for the bereaved.

The first thing that you can do on yourself during the holidays is to give yourself permission to be where you are at emotionally. Don't berate yourself or compare yourself to others. Just be - acceptance is so important in grief.

After you have given yourself acceptance, look within and see if altering the traditional way your family has always celebrated Christmas could be revised. Perhaps in the past there has been much materialism and the loss of your loved one has painfully reminded you of what is truly important. If so, discuss this with your immediate family and make steps to gently reorder the priorities in your holiday schedule.

Making homemade gifts (crafts and sweet treats) is an excellent way of including the family and to encourage conversation, without all the frenzy of the shopping malls. Whatever you choose, make sure that it reduces your level of stress - and includes the entire immediate family, if possible. 

Reduce your commitments that are not crucial, and that do not include family members - remember that the holidays are a special time that should be spent with family. Think about charitable things that the whole family could help with - perhaps a day at a homeless kitchen serving food; a visit to a senior care facility; caroling at a hospital - anything that the entire family could be involved in for one day to promote unity and caring. It is often times amazing that we can't see what blessings we do have in our life until we see those who have less.

And last - and most important of all - don't forget the reason for the season. Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of Christ - the Messiah; Almighty God in human form; the Invisible God made Visible. He came in the most humble of circumstances, in order to show all of mankind that He came for the poor as well as the rich - for all of us regardless of our circumstances. And His awesome gift of everlasting life for all in the world to come should be remembered often - we will be reunited with our loved ones - never to be parted again.

And Jesus grew in wisdom and statute, and in favor with God and men. (Luke 2:52) May we all allow the Lord to grow in wisdom, statute and in favor in the innermost parts of our hearts forevermore.

from Egogahan

If you have been touched by the death of a loved one and are looking for comforting, uplifting information regarding the life to come, please go to our 
Afterlife Information Page

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Mouse Script Courtesy of Dynamic Drive

Music is a selection of three random titles:
Silent Night
The First Noel
Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella