November 3, 2022

Navigating the Holidays While Grieving

By Barbara Desmond, MSW, Bereavement Coordinator
Holidays, anniversaries, birthdays and even the changing of the seasons can be especially challenging when experiencing the loss of a loved one. Holidays are often steeped in traditions, celebrations, and social gatherings and bereaved often feel a sense of dread as they anticipate these days and the absence of their special person(s) and the energy it may take to get through the season.

Self -care measures like being gentle with one’s self, getting proper sleep, nutrition, and exercise are essential when grieving, but as we enter the holiday season and a New England winter, we invite those who are grieving to consider expectations and their own unique needs at this time.

For some, this will mean continuing with a tradition that brings them comfort...perhaps making a favorite recipe or home decoration. For others, embracing a new tradition may feel like a better choice (a trip, a movie marathon). Many bereaved find a way to honor their loved one by donating to a favorite charity, or volunteering their time to a cause near and dear to the deceased’ heart. A simple lighting of a candle and acknowledgment of the gifts the loved one brought to the lives of others can be a beautiful way to honor the deceased as well.

Making intentional decisions about how one will spend their time and with whom AND communicating to family and friends in advance will hopefully reduce the anticipatory anxiety and bring a sense of peace. Allow yourself the flexibility to change your mind and ‘shift gears’ as you see fit along the way. As you enter the season ahead, remember there is no right or wrong way to grieve…. only your way.  Be good to yourself.

Join us for “Navigating the Holidays While Grieving” at Wesley United Methodist Church, 79 Clinton Street in Concord on Tuesdays, November 29 and December 6 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Together we will explore how to acknowledge our own needs during a time that is often filled with expectations. This two-session offering is open to adults grieving for any beloved person(s). Registration is required. For more information and to register, click here.