Blue Christmas: How to survive grief during the holidays

While holidays can be a time for joy and merriment, it may be a difficult period for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one.  It could be the thought of carrying on with holiday traditions without the deceased that makes this season almost unbearable.

But going through the holidays doesn’t have to be excruciating.  Here are a few tips on how to survive the holidays:

  • Remember the happy memories you have with the deceased.  There is no use in ignoring the loss.  You can make holidays an opportunity for you and your loved ones to get together and remember the person you miss.  But lighten up the mood.  Share funny stories and memories you have with the person.  When each of you share a memory or two about the person who has passed on, everyone will learn something new and surprising about the person who has passed on.
  • Revive old traditions.  Did Grandma always whip up that delicious pumpkin pie every Christmas?  You can keep the tradition alive by doing the same, if you know the recipe.  Reviving a tradition once started and enjoyed by the deceased is one way to honour his or her memory and let everyone feel as if he or she has never gone.
  • Start new traditions.  If you were used to celebrating the holidays at home with your deceased loved one, then why not consider changing the scenery?  Rent a cabin in the woods, or enjoy the holidays by the beach.  This will allow you and your loved ones to create new memories.  But remember that starting new traditions doesn’t mean forgetting those who have passed on.  Take comfort at the fact that they would rather see you happy with your family instead of sulking.
  • One of the most comforting ways to keep the memories of those who have passed on, alive, is through keepsakes.  They can be in a form of a photograph, or accessories he or she uses to wear.  If the deceased was a member of your immediate family, for instance, a sibling or a parent, cremation jewelry is a good option.  There are two kinds of jewelry you can choose from:  the vessel form which, much like cremation urns, can hold the ashes or bits of it, and the cremation diamonds where the ashes are heated to create precious gems.