While the holidays are a happy time for many, for others it intensifies the loss of a loved one. Whether the loss is recent or occurred many years ago, the holidays can unfortunately be a sad time for people grieving the loss of a special family member or friend.
"While we offer grief counseling as part of our comprehensive funeral services, there are other things people can do to help them cope with grief during the holidays," said John Callahan, owner of U.C. Davis-Callahan Funeral Home. “We give our families a special memorial candle with a photo and unique writings about their loved one that they can set out all year round or just for special occasions to remember their loved one."
There are other effective ways for people to cope with loss during the holidays, according to Callahan. "We recommend creating a memorial wreath with photos of the loved one," he explained. "Family members and friends can spend time together sharing memories and stories as they create the wreath. Opening up about how they're struggling with their grief can be very helpful."
After losing a loved one, the holidays will feel different; acknowledging that is the first step toward healing. Decide which traditions to keep and which to let go, and consider creating new traditions to help you move forward. It can be comforting to adopt a family in need in memory of the deceased. Volunteering at a church, the Salvation Army, or any worthwhile charity will make you feel better by helping others.
Other coping strategies include journaling and making a list of everything you're grateful for. This shifts the focus from what you've lost to what you still have. You can also choose special items that belonged to the deceased, and gift them to friends and family who will appreciate and enjoy them.