UPDATE to post: I wanted to also add to this post that I have added 5 new poems and they are all wonderful so please go to poems page and check them out. They start under the first poem.
Tips for Handling the Holidays
DECIDE WHAT YOU CAN HANDLE COMFORTABLY AND LET FAMILY
AND FRIENDS KNOW. Can I handlle the responsibility of the family dinner, etc.
or shall I ask someone else to do it? Do I want to talk about my loved one or not?
Shall I stay here for the holidays or go to a completely different environment?
MAKE SOME CHANGES IF THEY FEEL COMFORTABLE FOR YOU.
Open presents Christmas Eve instead of Christmas morning. Vary the timing of
Channukah gift giving. Have dinner at a different time or place. Let the children
take over decorating the house, the tree, baking and food preparation, etc.
RE-EXAMINE YOUR PRIORITIES: GREETING CARDS, HOLIDAY
BAKING, DECORATING, PUTTING UP A TREE, FAMILY DINNER,
ETC. Do I really enjoy doing this? Is this a task that can be shared?
CONSIDER DOING SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR SOMEONE ELSE.
Donate a gift in the memory of your loved one. Donate money you would
have spent on your loved one as a gift to charity. Adopt a needy family
for the holidays. Invite a guest (foreign student, senior citizen) to share festivities.
RECOGNIZE YOUR LOVED ONE'S PRESENCE IN THE FAMILY.
Burn a special candle to quietly include your loved one. Hang a stocking for
our loved one in which people can put notes with their thoughts or feelings.
Listen to music especially liked by the deceased. Look at photographs.
IF YOU DECIDE TO DO HOLIDAY SHOPPING, MAKE A LIST AHEAD
OF TIME AND KEEP IT HANDY FOR A GOOD DAY, OR SHOP
THROUGH A CATALOGUE.
OBSERVE THE HOLIDAYS IN WAYS WHICH ARE COMFORTABLE
FOR YOU. There is no right or wrong way of handling holidays. Once you've
decided how to observe the time, let others know.
TRY TO GET ENOUGH REST -- HOLIDAYS CAN BE EMOTIONALLY
AND PHYSICALLY DRAINING.
ALLOW YOURSELF TO EXPRESS YOUR FEELINGS. Holidays often
magnify feelings of loss. It is natural to feel sadness. Share concerns,
apprehensions, feelings with a friend. The need for support is often greater
KEEP IN MIND THAT THE EXPERIENCE OF MANY BEREAVED
PERSONS IS THAT THEY DO COME TO ENJOY HOLIDAYS AGAIN.
THERE WILL BE OTHER HOLIDAY SEASONS TO CELEBRATE.
DON'T BE AFRAID TO HAVE FUN. Laughter and joy are not disrespectful.
Give yourself and your family members permission to celebrate and take pleasure
in the holidays.
Reprinted from *Bereavement & Loss Resources* a publication of Rivendell Resources and GriefNet.