I know that many people are experiencing loss, especially at this time of year. For example, you may have been divorced since the last Christmas, or one of your sons or daughters may be at war, or a friendship may have been broken over the last year. Perhaps health problems have robbed you of many activities that were common to your life before this year, or someone you love may have died.
Grief is an experience that is common to everyone. Nobody who has ever lived on this earth has been able to avoid it, but it often comes to us when we least expect it.
For example, consider the story of Lynda Elliott, whose father died at noon on Christmas day when she was 20 years old. Lynda writes about how she handled her grief in the post, Handling Grief at Christmas. One of Lynda’s tips for grieving during the holidays is to, “confine and assign time to your feelings.”
We don’t need to ignore our feelings altogether, but it’s helpful to deliberately make a time and place for them.
Lynda writes, “I began to set aside a period of time to think about my father. Sometimes I wrote about him in a journal. Other times I talked about him to my children. Sometimes I lit a Christmas candle and gave thanks for him. I also looked through a scrapbook of my childhood. However, I placed a time limit on my grief and nostalgia.
I had to exercise my will to do this, making a decision to invest most of my energy into the family members who were still with me, serving friends and strangers who had needs. I invested my energy more and more into serving than grieving, and creating new memories, rather than looking back.”
Are you grieving during this holiday season? Try Lynda’s advice to set a time and place to grieve–maybe each day. Then try to invest your energy in serving rather than grieving, and in creating new memories.
For more wisdom on grief during the holidays, see the following:
Pass it On
Won’t Be Home for the Holidays
Handling the Holidays When Grief is a Visitor
Photo Credit: Richard Elzey