Ideas on How Families Can Handle Grief During the Holidays

April 3, 2013

Grief During the HolidaysHolidays are a difficult time for families who have lost a member. During a time that should be spent joyously with each others company is now a painful reminder of how things will never be quite the same with someone missing. The holidays may stir up memories of happier times when they were all complete.

Families may be conflicted on whether to celebrate the holidays at all would be a good idea. Perhaps the optimal way for grieving families to celebrate is to openly talk about expectations and who will play which roles. They may take the opportunity and use the time in taking measures towards healing by:
  • Sharing stories around the table about the person who died.
  • Looking at old photos together that include the loved one.
  • Observing a moment of silence or prayer to honor the person’s memory and keep him or her a part of the holiday.
  • Placing an empty chair where they would normally sit and light a candle or place a flower at that place.
  • Deciding which traditions you would like to keep as a family and perhaps add a new tradition.

It’s understandable if not all family members will agree on the ideas listed above as each individual has their own way of mourning for someone. Each member must respect each other and give space. Remember, there isn’t right or wrong way to grieve at the holidays or any other time.

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