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 one. 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, attend the office party. The first time you, alone, had to worry about a leaky roof or the selling of a house.
As much as we might wish we could ignore the season of “firsts,” we know we can’t and are often surprised when the anticipation turns out to be worse than the actual event. The day itself, whether it’s a birthday or holiday, is seldom as bad as the days leading up to it.
So relax. Take a deep breath and 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 the next. Moving us ever closer to healing.
Enjoying parts of the holidays does not mean you are being unfaithful to your deceased loved one. It is not a betrayal to experience some 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.