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No matter where you may be in you in your grief journey, chances are you are facing a “first.” Perhaps, it’s the first Christmas or Hanukkah without your loved on. Or your loved one’s first “after-death” birthday or anniversary.
Maybe it’s the first time you’ll see certain people or send out cards signed with your name only. Maybe it’s the first time you put up a Christmas tree, attended the office part,the first time you, alone, had to worry about a leaky roof or the selling of a house.
As much as we might wish wecould ignore the season of “firsts,” we know we can’t and are often surprisedwhen the anticipation turns out to be worse than the actual event. The dayitself, whether it’s a birthday or holiday, is seldom as bad as the daysleading up to it.
So relax. Take a deep breathand try not to project how you will feel or behave on any given day. Every “first”we conquer makes us stronger, moving us from one point of our grief to thenext. Moving us ever closer to healing.
Enjoying parts of theholidays does not mean you are being unfaithful to your deceased lovedone. If is not a betrayal to experiencesome joy. Just as you give yourself permission to mourn during the holidays,give yourself permission to have joy.
Insights by Margaret Brownley (Simi Valley, CA), VictorParachin (grief recovery facilitator – Claremont, CA)
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The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) website contains a Grief & Loss section with grief-related articles and information.