Halloween barely passes before stores stock their shelves with holiday decorations. Christmas carols echo through shopping malls, and the first of the holiday commercials hits the airwaves. If you've lost a loved one, these can be stark reminders that the holidays won't be the same.
Whether your loved one died recently or decades ago, the holidays bring forth powerful memories that may trigger your grief. If the person died on or near a holiday, the two events are forever linked and may be particularly painful, especially if you have unresolved feelings about the lost relationship.
When trying to cope with grief, it's important to understand that grief is cumulative. We don't experience a loss, move through predetermined emotional stages, then emerge on the other side.
This holiday season, if the first Christmas card you open or the first "Happy Hanukkah!" you hear starts to bring on sadness, use that opportunity to work through your feelings. Don't just ignore those feelings. Here are some tips to help you cope.
If someone you know is grieving:
Grief Recovery Institute®
Holiday Hotline: (800) 445-4808
National Funeral Directors Association
(800) 228-6332 or (262) 789-1880