Loss is a powerful emotion. We think we’re okay and then something happens to bring all of those feelings of grief and pain back again. From Thanksgiving to New Years are particularly hard for many people. Here are some ways to ease hurt during the holidays.
Understand loss comes in many different forms.
The death of a parent, spouse, child or other loved one aren’t the only reasons to grief. People could be hurting from losing a pet, job, relationship or dream. A friend recently confided in me that she’s really struggling this holiday season because she desperately wants a child to share the excitement with, but it hasn’t been in the cards for her yet. Don’t compare losses or minimize an emotional situation.
Grief isn’t something a person simply gets over with time. Like many adopted children, my daughter’s years before us were filled with trauma, loss and grief. Our hearts stung when someone very close to us opted to cut off ties with us a few months after we adopted her because they felt our little girl was taking too long to “just get over it.” There is no expiration date on feelings. Some return in full force when we least expect them.
Don’t avoid it.
Avoiding the feelings – whether they are your own or someone else’s – doesn’t help. Sadness is okay. Missing a loved one is okay. Longing for something desperately is okay. Don’t try to stuff the feelings down in yourself. Don’t try to change the subject or gloss over a friend dealing with this type of pain. It’s uncomfortable, sometimes we need to sit with feelings for a while before we’re able to find a way to participate in life fully again.
Perhaps your sister got divorced this past year, your best friend had a miscarriage or your neighbor’s husband passed away. Check in with them a little more frequently. Ask if there’s anything you can do to make the holidays better for them. Invite them to holiday happenings, but don’t be insulted if they don’t feel up to attending. If you’re the one grieving, reach out to people who care about you. Let them help you through it.
Are you one of the many people who experience feelings of loss around the holidays? If so, you aren’t alone. Feel free to share in the comment section below.