Sunday, May 31, 2015

Vacationing After a Child's Death

Vacationing after the death of a child can be difficult, but eventually you must move on and find a new way to enjoy summer fun with the rest of your family.

My first suggestion would be to find a new place you haven’t been that doesn’t remind you of your child every second of the day. If you have other children, it might be good for them to talk to you about how much their sibling might have loved or not loved the place you choose. It is good for the entire family to talk about the one who died. You don’t want them to be forgotten and neither do they. Talk about them as much as possible to make it more comfortable. Laugh or joke at something he/she would have done on this new vacation.

Don’t plan a vacation that is too long. You or your husband may not be up for that yet. Perhaps a few weekend trips to start and expand from there. See how it goes. See if everyone is coping with this new normal. A beach weekend or going to a resort close by are good choices. Even though you will miss your loved one tremendously, try to keep up appearances for the other family members. If it gets hard, talk about it all together.

When everyone is comfortable with the weekend trips, try a longer one (a week to 10 days). Get the other family members involved with the planning. Have everyone suggest a place, discuss the advantage of each one, the good and bad points, what activities as a family can be done, and then vote for the top two. Go from there to pick a winner. If not everyone likes the chosen place, they will know that the next trip will be their choice. And who knows, they may find the first choice to eventually be to their liking.

Remember that on any trip you take, be kind to yourself. Allow some time for yourself, to read, to journal, whatever you feel comfortable doing. You or any family member may become overwhelmed during this trip and that is okay. It’s all right to say to the others how much you miss the one no longer with you, to even cry if necessary. But you may also want to remember happier times you can talk about. The more the child’s name comes up, the more comfortable others will feel.

There is no right or wrong answer to: when will I be ready to take a vacation again? You must decide that for yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you how long you should wait. Keep in mind your loved one would want you to move forward and enjoy life. And in the process, perhaps you will honor them by the choices you make. Happy vacationing!

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