Coping with holiday grief

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The holidays may be a cheerful time for most people, but for many others they can be a painful reminder of a lost loved one.

Individuals and families struggling with grief can find that grief all the more intense and quite difficult to cope with during the holidays.

The grief-stricken can and should find comfort in honoring the memory of the lost loved one by trying to set aside a specific time to remember the person they lost. Simply ignoring the fact that a beloved father, mother, child or grandparent is not at the holiday gathering does more harm than good.

Mental health experts say donít leave the loss unspoken, as this is an injustice to the memory of the person who has been lost and it sets up the situation of the proverbial elephant in the room. Everyone knows itís there. Everyone can feel it.

Making grief a continual theme of the holiday also is not healthy. You donít want to make the holidays a constant memorial to the lost person, but some types of memorial discussions are appropriate. However, they should not take over the holiday event.

We all know no one grieves the same way. Some openly share their sadness, while others keep it to themselves and try to return to the routine of their lives. Both can be normal ways to grieve.

However, persistent grief can become serious depression, which should be treated by mental health professionals.

All in all, experts say feel the grief, find the time to properly acknowledge the memory of the missing loved one, and then move on and enjoy the holidays.