It’s the most wonderful time of the year! That is, unless you’re grieving the loss of a loved one.
Facing your first Christmas after their death can feel lonely and painful. But there are some strategies you can implement to help you survive and even enjoy the festive season.
Plan Ahead: If waking up alone on Christmas morning is too much to bare, plan to stay with family or friends on Christmas Eve. Spending Christmas morning surrounded by loved ones can be a great source of comfort. If you’re facing Christmas alone, seek out places where you may be able to volunteer your time on or around Christmas Day – churches, aged care facilities, hospitals, community centres and pet shelters. Bringing joy to others, can bring a little bit of joy to yourself.
Traditions: If your loved one had a Christmas tradition, don’t stop it. Traditions transcend generations and connect us with our heritage and family story. They’re so important, especially at this time of year.
Christmas Lunch: Phil recalls the first Christmas following the deaths of both his Grandmother and his brother in the same year. The thought of sitting around the Christmas table without them was unbearable. But when he finally came out of his room, his mother had lit 2 candles and put them at the places where his Grandmother and brother would have sat. It was a lovely way to acknowledge their absence, and the fact that they would never be forgotten.
Be honest: If you’re struggling, don’t bottle it up. Let your family and friends know how you’re feeling and you’ll likely give them courage to admit they’re struggling too.
Be kind to yourself: Take it one step at a time and remember, Christmas is an emotional season, so listen to your emotions, journal and take time out with a good friend or counsellor to talk about it. And treat yourself to some TLC – a massage, a night out, or a second helping of Christmas Pudding might just help to lift your spirits.
We’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy and safe Christmas and all the best for a wonderful new year.
We are available 24/7, throughout the festive season.