For most people, the holidays are time of joy, excitement, and fun spending time with loved ones and sharing in family traditions. For other people, who recently experienced the loss of a loved one, celebrating the holidays can be a sad time of year. It can be difficult knowing things are going to be different with your loved one no longer there.
You might we wondering if you should put on a fake smile, or retreat far away from the festivities, or not even celebrate. You are often faced with numerous questions and unknowns you are not sure how you should respond to or feel. The most important thing you can do, is accept you are most likely going to experience sadness and pain.
Sadness and pain signifies how close you were to your loved one and the things your enjoyed doing together over the holidays. It is perfectly acceptable to grieve the loss of your loved one during the holiday season. People often find it beneficial to talk to a therapist in Toronto, like me, Ellen Starr for support throughout the holidays.
While your family, friends, and relatives may be sensitive to your pain, they may not truly understand the extent of your suffering. Even if you decide not to put up holiday decorations and limit the number of events you participate in, it is hard to completely escape the holidays. You will see the sights and sounds the holidays all around you, wherever you go.
On the other hand, pretending nothing is wrong and everything will be fine can lead to even greater stress and unhappiness. Your loved one is gone and as your prepare to send out holiday cards, purchase gifts, and plan meals, you will still need to deal with your loss.
Having someone to discuss your feelings with about your loss and how it is going to impact the holidays can provide insight on what is best for you and overcoming your grief. It is normal to experience a wide range of emotions and feelings, some of which you might have already felt when you loved one passed. Unfortunately, the holidays can cause these feelings and emotions to resurface and be just as intense as they were at that time, which could include:
There may be also times where you feel love, joy, happiness, and relief. Just remember the range and extent of your emotions and feelings is normal.
It is also important to avoid drastic changes during the holidays. Attempting to change too much, too soon can have negative impacts on your health and well-being. Rather, consider minor alterations that allow you to reminisce about the happiness you shared with your loved one, but at the same time start to pave the way for healing. Above all, remember you do not have to face the holiday season alone. I am here to listen and provide guidance to help you get through the holiday season without your loved one. Please feel free to contact my Toronto therapy office at 416-488-3102 to schedule your initial consultation today.