No matter the season, people struggle whenever they lose a loved one to death. But when someone you love dies during the holidays; you may find yourself more depressed than if the loss had occurred at another time of the year. And, this year, depression is already at an all-time high due to the pandemic and associated lockdowns as well as social unrest. So, if your friend or family member dies during the months of November or December, you may confront a cascade of emotions unlike any you’ve ever experienced before. Has someone you loved recently died? If so, we are sorry for your loss. Please read the following post, which offers suggestions for managing the particular type of grief that originates from loss between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
Since grief is a natural part of the healing process, embrace the pain. In fact, Psychology Today counselors say this: “While it may be tempting to pretend the holidays don’t exist—or to numb the pain with alcohol, temporarily avoiding the pain only prolongs the anguish. Eventually, the holidays will get easier, but only if you allow yourself to experience the grief of going through them without your loved one.”
One of the reasons holiday deaths cut so deeply is due to unmet expectations for fond family times. Many people anticipate spending quality time with family and friends around the Thanksgiving table, the Hannukah Menorah, or the Christmas tree. But try to remember that even those who have not suffered loss often find these celebrations leave them wanting. This is because few families exist circa 2020 without some form of dysfunction.
So, try not to romanticize the reality of what holidays looked like in your family prior to the loss. Use this time, instead, to rewrite tradition. Invite the disenfranchised rather than just close family and friends. If you live in California, where Foothill Funeral & Cremation is based, check Holiday COVID-19 Guidelines before inviting the whole neighborhood. The point is to shake things up. Don’t try to repeat prior celebrations. No matter what you do, this year will be unlike any other. Embrace the suck.
Seek Out Support for Grief
If ever you needed support, now is the time. Thankfully, online grief support groups abound. Seek out people who can help you process your grief even in the midst of the busy holiday season. Although your own friends and family may be able to offer meaningful support, you may find it helpful to share with people with whom you do not have a history. Anonymous groups allow you to share without the need to censor yourself.
Honor Your Lost Loved One
The holidays are the perfect time to celebrate the life of your lost loved one. Here are just a few ideas:
- Ask everyone at the holiday gathering to tell a funny or otherwise touching story about your loved one.
- Light a candle at home or in a church.
- Say a prayer before the holiday dinner that focuses on your loved one.
- Set aside time during the holiday gathering to share favorite stories about your loved one. We advise this since some people may otherwise feel unsure whether they should talk about the person who passed.
- Write an online tribute for your loved one lost.
Foothill Funeral & Cremation hosts a Holiday Open House each December for the families and friends of people they have lost over the past 12 months. The public is invited to share in this memorial celebration.
About Foothill Funeral & Cremation in Glendora, California
Feel free to contact us now to pre-plan your own memorial or at your time of need (626) 335-0615. Our relationship with the United Methodist Church and Sacred Heart (which currently allows a maximum of 65 people) provides great places for mourners to host funerals and memorials. You’ll love the grandiose yet intimate settings in both locations.