Sunday, December 15, 2013

More Help for the Holidays

Last week I listed some ideas available to help the bereaved and their families during the holiday season. Here is a list of additional suggestions to go along with last weeks.

**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.

**Call a family meeting and discuss your plans for the holiday season, understanding that it would be unusual for you not to feel emotionally, physically, and psychologically drained. Don’t set you expectations too high or you may find yourself disappointed.

**Well intending friends and family may want to include you in their plans, believing it best for you to “get away” from grieving your loss. They do not understand that you cannot escape the grief that you feel. This is no obligation to say “yes.” Only participate if you truly want to.

**Try to take care of your health. It’s important that you eat and drink properly, exercise and get plenty of rest.

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

**Take time to do the things you as a person want to do. You may want time alone to reflect or to write your thoughts.

**Consider eliminating such things as the festive decorations, cooking and baking that you may normally enjoy. People will understand if you’re not in a merry or joyous mood or simply don’t have the energy. You may try placing an electric candle in your window in memory of your child. Don’t feel obligated to send out holiday cards.

**If it is necessary for you to buy gifts, consider ordering them over the internet or by phone. Most who are bereaved find it draining to go out and fight through crowded stores bustling with holiday cheer.

**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. The holiday is for you to hopefully begin to open your heart to the new you.