Monday, December 10, 2007

Getting through the holidays

After losing a child, most of us find the holidays challenging. Do yourself a favor and try some of these suggestions to give new meaning and purpose to your lives.

LET OTHERS KNOW HOW YOU FEEL. Giving others the tools they need to help you through the holidays is a precious gift, and loved ones and friends will appreciate knowing how they can be of help and what you need from them. You, in turn, will benefit from these caring individuals.

PLAN AHEAD. Spend that special day with people you enjoy being with rather than staying at home thinking of the past. Consider taking a short trip over the holiday, perhaps a 3-4 day cruise can be enjoyable. Or go to a beach location, completely opposite of usual holiday weather.

SEND NOTES or cards that you have bought, written or had printed to special friends, including thoughts about your child or a fond memory you have that includes that person, their children and your child.

DONATE your time or your money to a school or organization your child enjoyed or perhaps help out at a hospital where needed. There are people out there who can use our help during the holidays, particularly care homes for the elderly, and it is a good way to be a friend. Caring about others adds purpose to our lives.

DECORATE a tree, a room, a fireplace with mementos of your child that you and your friends and loved ones can look at and discuss with them. They, in turn, will probably be able to contribute a memory of your child.

HELP OTHER PARENTS WHO HAVE LOST A CHILD. Invite them to your home on a special day and share good memories of both your child and theirs. We all have a special bond with parents who have gone through the same kind of loss. We understand so well.

KNOW YOUR LIMITATIONS. Grief is all consuming. When the holidays arrive, added stress places demands on your time and emotions. Don’t do too much. Try to do what is best for you at that specific time. Accommodate your current needs.

ACCEPT HELP WHEN NEEDED. Sometimes the holidays are overwhelming and you need others to help you with decorating, cooking and shopping. Those close to you are probably trying to offer support at this time. Allow them to, and you will both feel better.

BE YOURSELF. If you want to cry, then do. If you want to laugh, don’t feel guilty. You are not obligated to do anything you don’t feel like doing. Grieving is nature’s way of healing the mind and heart from the worst loss of all. This holiday is for you to hopefully begin to open your heart to the new you.

1 comment:

  1. When Brian our son died we didn't have anywhere to go over Christmas. We didn’t want to be with our extended families at that time, and they understood. We ended up going to Austin Texas by ourselves just to get away. It was very depressing. I was wondering if there is any group of surviving parents of only children who get together over the holiday season. I just thought it would be nice to have arrangements made for people who don’t want to be with there extended families to meet somewhere, sort of a small Holiday Conference.