How to Deal With Death at Christmas

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Deal With Death at Christmas
Deal With Death at Christmas

How to Deal With Death at Christmas. Losing someone you love is hard. If your loved one dies around Christmas, it can be even harder. The way to deal with death at Christmas to realize that, when someone you love dies, change is unavoidable. However, change can also help you get through this difficult time. While you can't rush the grieving process, you can find ways make your holidays more pleasant and less stressful.

Deal With Day-to-Day Life and Holiday Stress When a Loved One is Dying

Expect a roller-coaster ride of emotions. Preparing for loss is in some ways worse than death itself, because of the uncertainty and dread. Your feelings can vary by the hour, which is completely normal.

Be good to yourself. Take time to sleep, cry, exercise and eat nutritious meals. Pray, meditate or just relax in a calm and quiet place. Distract yourself for a few hours with a book or film or spend time with a friend. You can't take care of your loved one or anyone else if you don't take care of yourself.

Encourage visits during your loved one's best times of day. If he is most alert and comfortable earlier, ask visitors to come in the morning.

Consider which, if any, traditions you want to participate in this year. Think about your financial and emotional resources. Maybe you want to skip gift-giving this year or perhaps it would cheer you up and be a welcome distraction.

Celebrate this last Christmas in some meaningful way. Give cards and gifts and put up decorations. Even if your loved one is comatose, you can bring in a poinsettia or holiday floral arrangement to brighten the room and play favorite holiday music. Remember that is always possible that your loved one can hear you and feel your touch, even if you don't see any response.

Find counseling now. Your school, workplace or place of worship should be able to recommend someone. If cost is a concern, you can consider support groups, including Internet forums.

Enjoy whatever you can during the holiday season. There is no harm or disrespect in celebrating. Your loved one would want you to find comfort where and when it comes.

Handle Christmas When You are Bereaved

Recognize that feelings of sadness, grief and even anger may intensify during the holiday season. The added expectations and stimulation can make it even harder to deal with the anniversary of your loved one's death.

Talk to friends and family. Ask for and accept emotional and practical help. Be honest about your feelings. You may hesitate to seem like a "downer" when everyone else seems to be celebrating, but realize that most people are eager to help. If you want to talk about the loved one, know that you can and let others know this.

Consider which holiday traditions may be helpful and which may be hurtful. The first holidays following a death can bring back painful memories and emotions and the holiday media blitz can leave you stressed and exhausted. If you are too conscious of the empty chair, you may want to skip hosting Christmas Eve dinner for the entire extended family. Or you may find comfort in this tradition and in sharing memories with people who were close to your loved one.

Find counseling. Your school, workplace or place of worship should be able to recommend someone. If cost is a concern, you can consider support groups, including Internet support groups.

Help yourself by helping someone else. Offer support to others affected by your loss. Consider making a charitable donation or give a gift in memory of your loved one. You could also volunteer at an animal shelter or another charity, since they are often shorthanded during the holidays.

Spend time with friends or family members. Invite someone to share a meal or see a concert with you. You could also volunteer at a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter.

Simplify what you can and ask for and accept help. For example, if you can't deal with making turkey with all the trimmings, you can have pizza or pasta.

Prioritize your own needs and the needs of those who are also most affected by the loss. Do what works for you and them. You may find comfort in familiar surroundings or you may want to visit somewhere completely new.

Get through today. Don't worry about how you will handle the holiday next year or ten years from now. By then you may want to return to certain beloved traditions and locations, or you may want to celebrate elsewhere or in an entirely different way.

Extend the meaning of the holiday to the natural world. In cold climates you could snowshoe or ski and in warm climates you could surf or water ski. Beautiful natural settings offer opportunities for peace and contemplation and for fun and exercise.

Remember and honor the loved one with a special toast, a favorite carol, a lighted candle or a favorite photo. You can also write a card or letter or keep a journal of your thoughts and remembrances. In the coming years, Christmas can be a time to remember your loved one. You can visit a place you both loved or that the person had always wanted to see and see it "for" her.

Enjoy whatever you can during the holiday season. There is no harm or disrespect in celebrating. Your loved one would want you to find comfort where and when it comes.

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