Holidays used to be my favorite time of the year. Thanksgiving meals with the family, Christmas decorations, Christmas DINNER, New Years Eve, dads New Years day prime rib meal…
My dad has been gone for a little over a month now, but I still have my moments where I still think I can send him a text or call. I thought grief was something that gets easier over time?
Thanksgiving was a huge trigger for me that I was not prepared for. I thought I could cook a wonderful meal for my small family and maybe my mom or other family members would come over. I spent the day cooking and when it came time to see my family it turned out my mom couldn’t make it, and other family members had different plans. I became sad and mentally checked out. I think for the remainder of this holiday season I need to learn to survive this difficult time without my dad around.
So I was researching coping mechanisms and ways to deal with grief and find comfort along the way. Hopefully, if you are reading this it gives you some sort of comfort as well.
First, let us set realistic expectations for yourself. If our departed loved one was the chef, decide if those responsibilities are something we can handle. It is OK to accept offers for help! If you are getting anxiety like I did about even thinking to brave a crowd or memories, the online shopping options are there for a reason!
Regardless of that anti-social voice telling you to just hibernate till the end of the holidays, now is not the time to be alone! It is ok to avoid circumstances that may be overwheling, but let’s not disappear ok? We need to have solitude to grieve and remember, but mix it up with a few socila activities as well.
Which leads me to the next one: surround yourself with those who love and support you! Also, alcohol is a depressant and should not be used to self medicate. Take care of yourself during this time of grieving. Physical exercise, journaling, spoil yourself. Do something (healthy) for yourself!
This year I plan to start a new tradition for my dad and uncle who passed away this year. I haven’t exactly figured out what yet because I would like to incorporate our family but for sure I will light a candle for them both and make an ornament for them to hang on my tree.
I hope this helps or at least gives you some ideas to get you through the holiday season.
Please as always, if you need to reach out and feel like you have no one to talk to, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Please say hi!
Rosadela Durruthy is founder of She’s Got Lupus, a non profit organization aimed to improve the lives of those living with chronic illnesses by advocating for mental health, healthy living and raising awareness.