Well, Christmas is here. You have made it through the last weeks or months, and for some of you even years, and Christmas is here. But this year things are different for some of you because that special loved one is not physically present. Many people dread the oncoming Holidays, worrying about the emotions that will prevail on that day, and trying to figure out how they could just bypass that day altogether. Some walking through their grief have told us that the dread of the day is sometimes worse than the day itself; while still others tell us that the dread of the day AND the day itself were both bad. So, what is the answer? Grasping the reality that we are eventually going to have to face the fact that our loved one is not with us during Christmas the questions is always, “so what do I do?”
It is a given that the holidays will seem much more empty because that special loved one is not there to carve the turkey, or cook that special dressing, or decorate the tree in their own special way. It is also a given that many of us who are left behind in the wake of a loved one’s death, will be struggling with the question of whether the person that has died should even be mentioned so as to not dampen the festivities. It is important for us to remember that even though it may seem a bit uncomfortable, it is vital that the loved one who has died be remembered and celebrated as the family navigates through the Christmas holiday. However, even the idea of remembering the loved one during this time brings about a pain deep in your heart that many would rather avoid.
Why then is it important to remember your loved one during your Christmas celebrations?
If you have been following us for any amount of time, you will remember that it is necessary to face the emotions brought about by your loved one’s death in order to work through your grief. Properly processing these emotions help to insure you grieve in a healthy way and avoid some of the complications of grief. If you try to block out or ignore the emotions brought about by your grief, you serve to bring about two things: first, you delay the inevitable; and second, you can make yourself physically ill. Even though you may make a conscious decision to ignore the emotion brought about by Christmas, you are still going to have to face those emotions one day or face the possibility of allowing those unexperienced emotions making you a physical, mental, and emotional wreck. In simpler terms, face and acknowledge the reality of your loved one’s death and you will be a healthier and happier person in the long run.
If you do choose to remember your loved one this Christmas season, here are a few things you could do to honor their life in a way that helps you through this challenging time:
1. Buy a special gift for your deceased loved one and then give it away. As you do so, remember the person who has died and the joy that they would have gotten from receiving that gift. This also allows you to share the memory of your loved one with another person who may not have had the pleasure of knowing them when they were living. That is how a legacy is continued.
2. Buy a special arrangement of flowers for your loved one and use them in the room you will have your Christmas celebration in, or donate them to the church to be displayed throughout the Christmas season. Find flowers that you know were special to your loved one and relive a happy moment when you may have done the same thing when they were alive.
3. Create a new holiday custom that is done in memory of your loved one each year. As your family practices this new custom year after year, share the story of why that custom is important by telling stories to future generations who may not have known your loved one.
4. Volunteer to help those less fortunate than you, or donate to a charity that your loved one held dear. Share the love that you have for your loved one by taking care of those who badly need it.
There are many other things you can do to remember your loved one during the Christmas season; in fact, the options are only limited to your imagination. One thing is certain: no matter how you choose to remember your loved ones at this time of year, always remember the love that you shared more than anything else.
At Caldwell & Cowan Funeral Home, we continue to offer our grief support groups during the Christmas season so that you do not have to face the holiday alone. We meet every Thursday (except the fifth Thursday of the month) at the old Caldwell & Cowan Funeral Home located at 3134 Floyd Street in Covington, Georgia. Meetings begin at 5:30pm. For more information please call 770-786-7062 and ask to speak with our Bereavement Services Director or anyone from the grief support team.