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Surviving the Holidays in the Midst of Grief

In December 2014, our IMV counselor, Cristyn Smith, shared with our community the following blog including ways to survive the holidays when in the midst of grief. Cristyn continues to work with patients who find themselves in the grieving process, regardless of how much time has passed since their loss. Cristyn herself often utilizes her own experience of walking through grief to help patients navigate their own journey. If you or someone you know are struggling to cope with the loss of a loved one, counseling services are available with Cristyn Monday through Friday at our Independence location.

Surviving the Holidays in the Midst of Grief

The holiday season can be difficult for anyone, but especially so when we are faced with the grief of having lost a loved one and/or unmet expectations in our lives.  Time and time again I hear feelings of dread as some of my patients anticipate the holiday season.  Many wonder how it snuck up on them so quickly, and would prefer to hide under a rock than to fake a smile, throw on a party outfit and spend time pretending their hearts are not breaking.  In all honesty, I assure my patients that the desire to hide is okay.  It means they are being honest with themselves about where they’re at.

For those trying to survive the holidays after having lost someone close to you, or if you are faced with unexpected changes in your life that make this time of year close to unbearable here are some simple things to be mindful of, and to give yourself space to just be.

  • Allow yourself to feel sad, just because everyone around you may want you to “cheer up” or is attempting to come up with ways to create a happy environment around you, it’s okay to be sad.
  • Allow yourself to cry, don’t bottle those feelings up thereby creating more stress for yourself.
  • It’s okay to give yourself limits, and it’s also okay to exceed those limits.  In other words, take care of you and make plans to hang out with others, but don’t beat yourself up if you decide you’re not up for being around others.
  • Allow others to help you, we all need a little support and encouragement sometimes.  Even if that “help” is just them sitting with you in your grief and not necessarily “doing” anything.
  • Take baby steps in regards to moving forward, whatever that looks like. 
  • Spend time remembering the fun you had with your loved one while they were with you, or if you’re grieving unmet expectations in your life, remember that everything serves a purpose.  Maybe spend time thinking about what could be ahead due to this life change, instead of getting stuck in what could have been.

Resources to help with Grief: – helping families in need who’ve lost a child to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – grief support groups – Grief & Loss Center of North Texas – Resources on different areas of grief - Hope Mommies’ sole purpose is to come alongside moms and families who have experienced infant loss, bringing comfort, encouragement, companionship, and hope as they continue to walk this side of eternity without their beloved son or daughter

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.