The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the world’s worst experiences in the last 100 years. Most would agree after all that has transpired it couldn’t get any worse. Well not so fast, it could and more than often will for many in the coming months. Predictions indicate another two hundred thousand deaths before January. In fact, the holidays is one of the most difficult times of the year where many people experience immense sorrow which begins to surface around Thanksgiving time. Now that cooler weather is upon us, COVID cases are on the rise and experts are recommending no large traditional gathering for the holidays. This may force those grieving into further loneliness, and even depression if not careful. Christmas music, holiday parties, and festive decorations meant to spread holiday cheer can do quite the opposite and bring the onset of great sadness. I’ve experienced that rapid onset of grief my own self with the loss of my mother. Below are a few suggestions that helped me and it’s my prayer that it might help you as well.
1. Grief is a part of healing. So it’s okay to miss your loved ones and feel sad about them not being here for the holidays. In time you will be able to deal with the loss during the holidays. Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling in that moment whether it be happiness, sadness, or guilt. Trust the grieving process.
2. This is the time of year that invitations to holiday parties are typically on overload. If you are not feeling up to attending it’s okay to not attend. Don’t feel obligated to please others, decline the invitation and be honest about it.
3. Be realistic, you will not be able to control others feelings on the holidays. There are oversized Elf’s just oozing with holiday cheer crowding the streets, restaurants and stores. If you choose to do some shopping consider online shopping as an option due to COVID 19. Try carry out or curbside pickup to avoid the office parties during happy hour. If you decide to attend, drive your own car so when you’ve had enough or it’s becoming difficult to cope you can leave. It’s okay to limit your decorations or not decorate at all. Remember it’s your house so no permission is required.
4. Find a way to honor your loved one. This worked really well for me and I hope it does for you. I do the things I loved doing with my mother over the holidays and it makes me feel close to her and helps my mind to focus on the happy times we shared. I have ornaments my mother made for my sister and I that still adorn my tree every holiday. I feel a sense of warmth and love when hanging them. Master your loved ones favorite recipe. They made it for you with love, honor your love for them by learning to prepare it for not just yourself, but share it with your family and friends. Make new traditions intertwining the old with the new. Your loved one wanted you to live life to the fullest. Honor their memories by being happy.
5. Spend time helping the less fortunate. Doing so you will remove the focus of sadness from yourself to giving to others. Visit the elderly, get involved at church visiting the sick and shut in. Volunteer your time to read to children at the library.
6. If none of the above helps, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. Let family and friends know that you are struggling. Make your pastor and church family aware as well. It is difficult not to morn phenomenal people in your life, but those people prayed that you be phenomenal in your own right. Always remember, you not alone. The unimaginable grief in the loss of a loved one does not have to be infinite. The struggle is real, but you can and will recover.