In light of what happened in Paris over the weekend, I've pondered for the last few days what to write this week regarding the holidays. What came to me was the issue of loss and how the holidays can exaggerate those feelings.
For all the people of France, this holiday season won't be like last year. That's also true for anybody who's lost a loved one, suffered an illness, been disappointed by a betrayal or hurt, lost a job, etc. How do we "celebrate" this time of year when we're grieving a loss?
There aren't any pat answers here but what I would suggest is to not expect to feel as you have in the past. Expect a new "normal", to use a cliche. If you've suffered a loss this past year, one way to engage in the holidays is to do something completely different. As an example, after my father passed away, that first Christmas Eve, we went to a restaurant he'd never been to and didn't do our traditional Christmas Eve dinner at home as we'd done for decades before. We still noticed my father wasn't there but we weren't bombarded with memories from the past. We created new memories that night and a new tradition. From that holiday forward, we went out for Christmas Eve.
Take a moment and think about how you can do some of the various events over the holidays in a different way. Ask for help if you get stuck. You're not alone, lots of people are dealing with loss and grief. And remember, the holidays are just a few 24 hours over the next weeks. Although we may feel strange, different, sad and/or grief when these days arrive, they will be over soon and life will get back to "normal" before you know it.
Ann Foster, MTS, LCPC, CADC, CMAT, CDWF
President ~ Executive Director