How do you survive holidays after a loss? Please share.

 

sad tree In December, a client I used to see called me. Six years ago, she had a stillbirth. We hadn’t spoken in a while. She said that she was feeling really low, and that—no matter how much time has passed—the holidays are always hard. Observing her friends and family members—their plans and their activities—made her feel bad.

During the holidays, happiness is being broadcast everywhere, and it’s all about kids and babies and family. You want to be a part of the celebration, but you feel different from other people. It’s hard to put on a happy face for the family, to smile for nieces and nephews, to take photos or put up decorations.

So now that the holidays are done, and it’s a new year, let’s ask the question: how do you take care of yourself during a season of celebration? The internet is full of useful lists (like this, or this), but what is your personal experience? How did you get through Christmas or Kwanzaa or Hanukkah this year? How do you deal with grief and feel your feelings while still maintaining equilibrium?

What works for you? What’s most challenging? What advice would you give to another grieving parent, or to the people who care about them?

Please comment below.