Here are seven facts to remember this holiday season when you are dealing with the loss of a loved one:
- The experience of dreading the holidays is usually worse than experiencing the actual days. Don’t worry about things that could happen or could be awful before they even can happen. More than half of what you imagine will go wrong probably won’t.
- You can do the holidays different this year if doing them the same is painful for you. Make new meaningful traditions. You can go back to the old traditions in later holiday seasons if you want to.
- Just because your holidays will never be the same doesn’t mean your experience of the holidays ahead can’t be filled with joy and meaning.
- The holidays will never be “perfect” and neither will you. Lower your expectations of others and yourself. High expectations of the holidays sets us up for failure and disappointment.
- Remembering the real reasons for observing the holidays will make your holidays more meaningful. (1) Observe the holidays in a way that reinforce your belief system and (2) Work to enjoy the company of those who are significant in your life and let them know how important they are to you.
- Your loved one would want you to enjoy yourself during the holidays.
- What you learn from going through the holidays this season will help you get through future holiday seasons.
Written by Larry M. Barber, LPC-S, CT author of the grief survival guide “Love Never Dies: Embracing Grief with Hope and Promise” available online at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Love-Never-LPC-S-Larry-Barber/dp/1613796005 ), Barnes & Noble (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-never-dies-lpc-s-ct-larry-m-barber-ct-larry-m/1104364890?ean=9781613796016).
The grief survival guide is also available in Spanish as “El Amor Nunca Muere: Aceptando el Dolor con Esperanza y Promesa”
Both English and Spanish versions are available for Kindle and Nook. Larry is the director of GriefWorks, a free grief support program for children and their families in Dallas TX http://grief-works.org.