The Holiday Season and Grief
The holidays are fast approaching, and 2019 is coming to a close. While this is a time of joy for many, it can also be a source of grief. For a lot of people, the holiday season is a yearly reminder of those who are missing at the table. Unfortunately, this time where we should be surrounded by those we love can also feel so empty and cold, when a loved one has passed.
Loss and the Holidays
Family gatherings should be special occasions, but they can reopen fresh wounds of grief. When celebrating a family holiday, it is often impossible to forget those who are missing at the table. You may not even really feel it until you sit down to eat and realize that there is one less voice in the conversation. It can be hard to feel cheery on a holiday while you are experiencing grief. That is perfectly fine. Everyone grieves in their own way, and in their own time. Grief is needed to heal.
Talking About Loss With Your Family
It is OK to talk about loss during the holidays. It may be hard, but it can be cathartic to share memories of your loved one, and talk about the times you shared with them. Reminisce together. Grieve together. Be together. The holidays are about spending time with your loved ones and making memories; but it's good to share them too.
If you want to talk about your grief, but don’t want to do it with the whole family, pull a close family member off to the side to discuss it. Grief can be hard, especially when you try to do it alone. Sharing your feelings, even privately, can be healing.
Traditions and Loss
When losing a family member, it is important to not let their traditions fade away. If they led a tradition, keep it going. It is important to remember that by moving a tradition to a new family member, you aren’t replacing them, or forgetting them. You are passing the torch, and keeping traditions alive.
Following in the Footsteps
Traditions are how we keep the memories of lost loved ones, and our ancestors alive. When you take on the mantle of continuing a family tradition, you are tasked with teaching it to the next generation as well. This can seem daunting, but it can also be a beautiful thing. Whether its leading the family in a Christmas carol or baking a certain dessert every holiday; passing down traditions is a part of human nature. Embrace it, make it your own, and have fun with it.
Family recipes are often a very important part of passing on traditions. For many Americans, these recipes may have even been written up in your country of origin. Passing down recipes is one of the most meaningful things you can do to keep family traditions alive. If your loved one made a certain dish for the holidays, keep the tradition alive by following their recipe.
Other Ways to Honor Them
There are a lot of ways to honor the memory of your loved one. Some families might have the family say a prayer for them before your holiday dinner. Others may gather to watch their favorite movie or go through old photo albums. Creating new memories and traditions with your family is one of the best ways to honor the legacy of your loved one.
The author of this post is not a professional therapist or counselor. For assistance in finding a grief counselor that is right for you, there are a number of resources out there. For our Grief Resource Center, written by Dr. Bill Webster, click here.
For almost 50 years, Matthew Funeral Home has been serving the Staten Island community. We can help with almost every aspect of your loved one’s memorial service. Our family is here to serve yours, every step of the way.