Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Coping with the Loss of a Loved One During the Holidays

This year we lost my father-in-law to cancer after he bravely fought it for over two years.  Although we knew it was coming, it has still hit the family very hard.  With the holiday season in full swing, everyone has been keeping to themselves and not said much about him.  In my attempt to help my husband and extended family, I sought out some aide from the Internet.  There is some great advice out there and here are some points I found to be helpful:
  1. Decide For Yourself - You decide how you want to handle the holidays. 
    • Cut back on Christmas cards or don't send any at all.
    • Have the family gather at someone else's home.
  2. Decorate! - If it is difficult for you to decorate, ask someone to do it for you or to help.  You may find the decor helpful to cheering you up and putting you in the holiday spirit.  If you have children in your family, they are missing your loved one too.  Kids always love Christmas decorations!
  3. Change Tradition - My mother-in-law actually requested that we have a "Dirty Santa" Christmas this year.  After some hesitation everyone agreed and I think we are all glad we had.  Usually we each pile up our gifts and take turns opening them.  It would be difficult to see a pile of gifts missing.
  4. Remember - Do something special to remember your loved one. 
    • You can light a candle in their memory or put a picture of your loved one out during family gatherings.  
    • Leave an empty seat for them and place a flower on it. 
    • You could also put a bowl, pen and paper out for people to write down memories of your loved one and put it in the bowl.  Although others to read them or keep them for yourself. 

Whatever you decide to do, make sure it is right for you.  And remember, your family is there for support and a shoulder if needed.

1 comment:

  1. One day back in May, I took Renee to the dr for a checkup after surgery, then went to the store to get some stuff for her. Well I'd worn my wig to Erie, but peeled it off on the way back to Renee's from the store. When I got in the house, she said I looked just like Rick pulling in. We talk about him and the parents often, it's like he's still here sometimes. Aunt Linny