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~Brianna

Christmas Grief Tips

A whole year has passed.  It hit me as I was thinking about what to share with you this week, that I’ve been writing this blog for a whole year.  One of my first blog posts for Grief Reflections was around Christmas last year from the book I authored, We Lost Her, and how our family coped at Christmas with the loss of our mother so many years ago.

I’ve learned a lot in the last year.  About grief, and about life, too.  I hope you have, too, as we’ve traveled together, dear reader.

I’ve learned while presenting to many groups about Heartlinks Grief Center and on “Never Say These Six Things – well-meaning but hurtful expressions of sympathy and what to say and do instead.”  Each time I spoke to a group, someone offered another grief experience or idea that I hadn’t considered before.

And Diana Cuddeback, Heartlinks Grief Center Director, has broadened my view of how to help those grieving immensely.  She helped me see that I need to ask, “May I help you?” versus assuming my timing for assistance was best.  She opened my eyes to not placing the focus on me and my grief experience by saying, “I know how you feel.”  I’ve taken that out of my vocabulary, thank you very much.

I learned that while the first year after you lose a loved one is hard as you experience all the “firsts,” the first holiday, birthday, vacation, etc. without them, the second year is often the hardest as the reality sets in.  And that the average time for a person to get to a “new normal”, (not normal, like before the loss, but what normal is after your loved one dies) is five years.  As I present for Heartlinks, most people are shocked by those timeframes.

So, as I thought about what to share today, I searched for more learnings.  I found lots out there – all kinds of sites are available online to help with our grief journey, including, of course, www.heartlinks.com.

Another I like a lot is “What’s Your Grief.”  They have this list: “64 Tips for Coping with Grief at the Holidays” that I share with you via the link below:

https://whatsyourgrief.com/64-tips-grief-at-the-holidays/

Of course, not all 64 of these are right for anyone. All of us grieve differently, right?

Below are a few that I’ve summarized, that are “action-oriented”, in keeping with my general theme of “Do it – take actions to help yourself and others who are grieving.”

  1. Create a new tradition in memory of your loved one. Acknowledge that Christmas will be different and decide how you want to change the holiday.  Then, let others know your wishes.
  2. Generosity through donations. Lots of ideas here:
    1. Make a donation to a charity that was important to your loved one.
    2. Buy a gift you would have given to your loved one and donate it to a local charity.
    3. If you are feeling really ambitious, adopt a family in memory of your loved one – through a church, school or local charity.
    4. Donate your loved one’s clothing to a homeless shelter or other charity.
  3. Get help. See a counselor or go to a grief group.  You may have been putting this off, but knowing the holidays will be especially tough, now is a good time to talk to someone or share with others who are struggling and may not be so darn cheery.
  4. Don’t feel guilty.
    1. Don’t feel guilty about skipping events if you aren’t ready yet.
    2. Don’t feel guilty if you minimize decorations or cards or gifts – do what feels right for you this year.
  5. Take time for yourself and practice self-care. And don’t feel guilty about that, either!

OK, so that’s more than a few, but I hope they are helpful.  And I hope that when I write you next year at this time, we have learned even more on our grief journey.

I wish you and yours a peaceful and happy Christmas.

Be blessed,

Ellen

Ellen Krohne, author of We Lost Her, available on Amazon.com

Heartlinks Grief Center volunteer and Family Hospice board member

https://www.facebook.com/WeLostHer/

“We Grow Stronger Together”

One Reply to “Christmas Grief Tips”

  1. These are very helpful ideas, I have in fact already put a couple into place. Donated to Hope Lodge where my sister stayed while having her treatments for cancer. Made necklaces & bracelets out of a pearl necklace from mom. Gave them to other female family members for Christmas. These small activities have made my Christmas Season feel a bit less empty. Thank You, I look forward to reading the blogs for 2019.

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