Christmas is very difficult during the course of bereavement but is part of natural feelings of grief. Intensity and painful complexity of emotions means a feelings of their loss is so overwhelming with changes of sadness like storms of the century equivalent to emotional tsunami. The tides of emotions, buffets memories surrounding the lives of the bereaved. Emotionally pulled apart not wanting to celebrate Christmas and to shut down all things to grieve. Being with loved ones has the double edge so interacting around people joyous and happy is stark reminder of own loss. Doing something lovely with friends or family can generate powerful feelings of emptiness and sadness though the intention is exactly opposite. During such times family relationship is most challenging so not surprising profound feeling of loss or is vulnerable spending time with family members at Christmas. It may trigger some complex emotional responses by unexpected little things surprising people like going shopping and noticing loved one’s favourite items biscuits bought at Christmas, receiving a Christmas card from those who didn’t know. Sometimes being with friends and family feels like pressure but desperately don’t want to be alone. May put brave face on things when with others is real struggle to be fully present so tries harder to be happy. Remember whatever stage one grieves the process, life goes on. At times, finds forgetful of things lacking concentration all these things are completely natural. However organized at Christmas may not find it easy in a first year but that’s okay. Sometimes remembering the good times had with someone is almost too hard to bear in the face of their absence as loss feels too great. It’s important to remember intensity of one’s feeling will always be relative to quality of depth of a relationship had with someone. The experiences of intense pain, sadness or loss of someone is testimony to quality of relationship. Is testimony of the love and deep regard one had for them. Loss experienced is not only the loss of person but also a whole bunch of what I would call secondary losses as well. A good way to picture this is to see deeper layers all around the inside and outside of loads of other things lost alongside a person. Not only the things done with them but things associated with them or loss of future possibilities. Christmas is a big reminder of past or present. Christmas time of joy brings guilt feeling due to bereavement. Feeling sad to enjoy with family and friends for being happy and guilt to the person lost for having a good time. Sometimes guilt is feeling OK as though it must not be so. Being OK even for a moment seems disrespectful to the person lost or feeling guilty if starting to relax and momentarily forget them. Mechanised coping distracts the mind from thinking about them. Yet just one second somehow feels as if forgetting them forever. Such thoughts, feelings, pain completely natural though many are intense and contradictory against practical life experiences. And one is careful not to be seen too happy after bereavement so is sad to show feeling grief. Being careful too much affects a healing process so needs time of natural vulnerability balanced. If recently lost any person, first Christmas without them is managed by doing following:
- Take time out whenever you need it and ask others to respect this.
- Share as little or as much as you wish with people, grief is a private affair and deeply personal. We have the right to our dignity.
- Make a specific time to remember them and put a time boundary around it.
- Dedicate your thoughts to them during this time and do something to mark their passing. Write them a card or a letter, or go for a walk, whatever feels most appropriate, and honor the time that you had together.
- Give your feelings your full attention. Acknowledge and validate the way that you feel and however distressing remember that the way that you feel is testimony to the love that you had for them.
- At the end of the time that you have allowed for this in your day, light a candle and then go and have as good a time as you can. Because this is what they would have wanted for you.
- No matter how raw the pain of loss is remember you will heal, recover and be happy again after death of a loved one. The living don’t marry dead person so death do you part.
- Be grateful for the family you have and Thank God for HIS GIFT of your life given you. Jesus still Truly LOVES you from His Deepest part of His HEART.
- You will see loved ones in future.