Dealing with Holiday Grief

In-House Hospice Solutions: CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - There are more than 40 events in people’s lives that can create feelings of grief; the death of a loved one, a divorce, an estrangement, financial changes and health issues are at the top of the list.  The holidays are often a time where grief can start or for someone that is already grieving, this time often increases their grief. 

To help deal with holiday grief, In-House Hospice bereavement coordinators, offer solutions on how to cope with holiday grief with a Q&A.  

  1. I have lost my job and am unable to find work. 

The loss of a job is just as devastating as the loss of a close family member.  Feelings of loss, sadness, anger and fear are very common. Embrace your feelings, realize that they are just feelings, and share them with a friend or loved one.  Writing in a journal also helps deal with feelings, but be honest. Remember the old saying, "when one door closes, another one opens". Know that when you expect good things, good things happen.  A positive attitude can make all the difference in the world.

  1. With the holidays arriving soon how can I cope with not being able to give my children the gifts that they have been accustomed to?

With the economy today, many families will be dealing with this problem.  Holidays are the time many of us are extravagant and extend our budgets.  This year, maybe it's time to refocus our attention on the actual meaning of the holiday, instead of what I can buy someone.  It may mean changing rituals your family may have, but making new ones can be fun.  Maybe just a family get together with everyone bringing a covered dish instead of the huge meal. Making homemade gifts is also fun, and children really enjoy helping. Enjoy your family and friends, and the time you have together, focus on the spiritual side of the holiday, and fill your home with love.

  1. This is the first holiday without a job.

Losing a job is a very big loss in your life.  Any time we experience loss it can be very stressful and difficult to cope with.  As with any significant event after a loss it is hard to imagine how you and your loved ones are going to be changed by the loss. Take this time to get back to basics and remember what holidays and families are about.  Holidays are not all about the presents or what we can gain from them.  It can be a time for personal growth, families to come together and for you to give in more creative ways. If you or your family is planning a holiday try to come up with new ways to celebrate. You may find involving the whole family in planning the holiday can help bring closeness and a sense of family pride to you all.

  1.  My spouse and I divorced. I have been grieving since, this is the first holiday season without him/her.

In a divorce, the same feelings arise as if the person had died because essentially it is a death; the death of a relationship that had started with so much promise and love.   Now you are faced with creating a new 'normal' and the holidays can be stressful.  Understand the anticipation is probably a lot worse the reality of the day.  Perhaps you can find friends in a similar situation and make plans to celebrate with them, rent your favorite films and make it a movie day, if expenses allow, plan a trip somewhere and if you feel like being alone and sad, that's okay too.  Maybe you can look upon this as an opportunity to abandon what you hated about the holidays and create new traditions.