What makes this holiday season different than last year? For some people it is the first time not having someone special around and for others it is the second year. There are those who have been living and missing someone for many years.
Does the time between the loss and now mean anything? What makes each year different? Does grief get better or do you get better at dealing with grief; important questions that will be answered differently by each individual.
Some people and professionals believe the second year is harder to deal with than the first year after a loss. Why? Perhaps it means you were too busy coping in the first year and now you do not have the strength and energy to cope as well this year.
I want to interject here for a moment and say; perhaps the first year was not actually coping, but pushing the grief aside and trying to deny the loss occurred. Yes, you know you are alone and perhaps missing your special individual, but how often do you look around and then realize they are not there?
For some people this is a state of being they get stuck in and do not move forward from. For others this is a state of being they want to get as far away from as imaginable and as fast as possible. Is this running away? No, this is being realistic and not wanting to feel the pain of loss any longer.
Truth be told, feeling the pain of the loss is the way through it. The longer you hesitate or avoid going into the pain the longer it will take to heal. Have you seen or do you know people who decades later have not grieved a loss? They are out there.
Create new rituals or ways of remembering if you need to. Let people know you are having a rough day; they cannot read your mind. Tell others if it is okay to talk about the person who is not present and if you don’t want to talk say so.
Others know this day is different for you and chances are it is different for them also. Address the elephant in the room. Keep in mind the most important part of this is you and your ability to handle the days ahead.
You are different too!
All my best,
Barbara Gillett Saunders