Should I Go? Help for the Holidays

holiday chestnutsHolidays and special events are normally a time of joy and celebration, however they can become a painful reminder of your loss. Seeing family members, making decisions, and attending the holiday activities you usually enjoy can take on a different outlook after the loss of a child.

If you begin feeling sadness during the holidays or a special occasion, think about why you are feeling that way; process those feelings and accept them.  It is a perfectly normal reaction to your grief. Taking this step ahead of time may help you to avoid some uncomfortable moments in public.
Should I Go?
Ask yourself if you are ready to attend family gatherings or parties. This will give you the opportunity to let someone know your decision in advance. Knowing that you would have planned to share your new baby at these celebrations could make them difficult and even tearful for you. Give yourself the option to gracefully bow out of the activity. Asking yourself these questions before a special event may help:
  • Can I handle this? Is this something I would enjoy? If so, it could be a good way to lift your spirits.
  • What does my spouse think? Will it cause problems if I do not attend?
  • Would the holiday or special event be the same if I don’t attend? Deciding not to attend a Christmas play will not take away from the holiday season; however deciding not to attend Thanksgiving dinner will certainly change the Thanksgiving holiday.
Thinking through these questions ahead of time can help you arrive at a decision that is right for you, and one that will not negatively impact your spouse or your family.
The above is an excerpt from the book Hope is Like the Sun.

Home for the Holidays: Tips for Grieving Families

Home_ the_night_before_christmasThe Holidays can bring families together, but during grief, it can also tear them apart. Grief is a family affair. It is important that families allow one another the freedom and support they need to move through and beyond their loss. Especially during the Holidays when emotions are “running high.” Here are some suggestions for families:
  • Talk about grief and feelings with one another and as a family. Confront any questions or concerns that surface about how family members are handling their grief.
  • Encourage open discussions about the loss and do not be afraid to cry together.
  • Accept help and support from others. Also be sure to recognize when other family members may need additional help.
  • Allow space for individuals to experience grief in his or her own way without criticism.
  • Try to stick with family routines as much as possible to foster stability and consistency
  • Individual time. Allow family members to ask for time alone when it is needed.
  • Remember that everyone in your family will move through grief at a different pace. Allow time for family members who need it, while enjoying the success of those who are resolving their grief.

Recognizing the differences each of you face in dealing with grief will allow you to pull together during a time when it is most important. Although grief can turn your attention inward, be sure to focus on your family during the Holiday Season.

The above is an excerpt from the book Hope is Like the Sun.

Help for the Holidays: Enjoy the Season

Help for the Holidays

With Thanksgiving just hours away, you may find that you struggle to feel “thankful” after suffering a loss. My family has had a challenging year, and after feeling the weight and stress for months, my husband and I decided we should strive to focus even more on what we are thankful for this year. It can be so easy to get caught up in the loss and pain, but a simple decision to change your focus, can change the season for you and your family.

 
The holidays can be a great way to occupy your mind, keep your hands busy, and put you in the company of supportive friends and loved ones. However, there will still be times of pain and situations that serve as reminders of your loss. Be sure to take steps to make the holidays as peaceful and joyful as possible.  Here are some suggestions:
 
  • Set aside private time for yourself. Shedding a few tears in private can be a great stress reliever and it will reduce your frustration throughout the day.
  • Plan ahead of time. Make shopping lists, organize your tasks, and leave plenty of time to accomplish them. Reducing some of the normal headaches of the holidays can alleviate added pressures.
  • Educate others on your needs.  If you prefer your family talk about your baby rather than avoid the subject, let them know ahead of time.
  • Do something different. You may find that changing your holiday routine or allowing someone else to host an event you normally plan can give you a new outlook and reduce stress.
  • Do something for someone else. Buy a gift for someone in need, adopt a less-fortunate family, or make a donation in your baby’s memory. Helping others is a great way to heal.

The holidays should be a time of joy and celebration. Taking some steps to prepare for them, and allowing yourself the space you need, can make them a better experience for you.

This information was adapted from the book Hope is Like the Sun.
 

Handling the Holidays

Holidays and special events are normally a time of joy and celebration, however they can become a painful reminder of your loss. Seeing family members, making decisions, and attending the holiday activities you usually enjoy can take on a different outlook after the loss of a child.

If you begin feeling sadness during the holidays or a special occasion, think about why you are feeling that way; process those feelings and accept them.  It is a perfectly normal reaction to your grief. Taking this step ahead of time may help you to avoid some uncomfortable moments in public.     
 
 
Should I Go?
   
Ask yourself if you are ready to attend family gatherings or parties. This will give you the opportunity to let someone know your decision in advance. Knowing that you would have planned to share your new baby at these celebrations could make them difficult and even tearful for you. Give yourself the option to gracefully bow out of the activity. Asking yourself these questions before a special event may help:
 
  • Can I handle this? Is this something I would enjoy? If so, it could be a good way to lift your spirits.
  • What does my spouse think? Will it cause problems if I do not attend?
  • Would the holiday or special event be the same if I don’t attend? Deciding not to attend a Christmas play will not take away from the holiday season; however deciding not to attend Thanksgiving dinner will certainly change the Thanksgiving holiday.
Thinking through these questions ahead of time can help you arrive at a decision that is right for you, and one that will not negatively impact your spouse or your family.
 
The above is an excerpt from the book Hope is Like the Sun.