Getting Through The Holiday Season

a widow with her child during the holiday season

The lead up to the Holiday Season

If this is the first Christmas since losing your partner, it will probably be the most difficult. Negotiating the planning and events involved during the lead up to the Holiday season will be a reminder of when you used to share this time with your partner. Understandably, this is a period that will be hard to confront on your own and could prove to be the catalyst prompting you to ask for help. A bereavement counsellor will guide you through these tough times, if necessary; or sharing your feelings with an old friend, especially someone who was also close to your partner, could be helpful.

Remembering Previous Happy Holidays

If you’re sharing the holiday with family and close friends, recalling joyful moments spent together in the past, could bring you some comfort. A funny anecdote from a previous Christmas together, will help to nullify any awkwardness, helping those around you to feel more relaxed in your presence.

Offering to help with the preparation for the occasion might also be a practical diversion. Anything that distracts you and helps you to forget your sorrows for a while will be of benefit.

Those around you will no doubt be aware of what you’re going through, especially if they were also close to your partner. Sharing the various tasks involved could help to allay the sadness for all, providing a welcome period of respite before and during the holiday.

There will be no expectations for you to be particularly ‘upbeat and jolly’ and providing you’re not feeling overly sensitive, it will do you good to be among friends and family.

If you are spending the Holiday with close family and friends, don’t be afraid to talk about your partner

It’s also OK to get upset. If this happens, just take yourself off to somewhere quiet and give in to any urge you might have to cry, or to just sit quietly for a while. Those around you will understand!

You May Want to Spend Time Alone

You may want to cut yourself off from the Holiday festivities completely. The process of writing cards and leaving off your partner’s name is no small feat and could cause unnecessary anguish. Walking around the shops, choosing presents for others will also remind you of items you may have bought for your partner.

However, if you have very young children, you will probably want to provide some traditional Christmas cheer and this is where shopping online comes into its’ own. If suitable, encourage them to write a ‘Santa list’ to further make this process as easy as possible. Anything that reaffirms continuity in their lives is important.

It’s fine to talk to your children about the absent parent. Talking about their late father or mother will help them to accept that although they may not be with them any more, they will always be a part of their lives. Share with them any happy stories from Christmas past. Ask them what they remember about their absent parent.

Try to relax and appreciate the seasonal atmosphere, if you can. Whilst the Holiday season will be a tough journey for you, don’t feel too bad if you find yourself actually enjoying the celebrations. It’s OK to acknowledge this happy time of the year and you shouldn’t feel guilty if you find yourself laughing at any time or actually falling in with the festivities.

Congratulate yourself for coming thus far, and try to look forward with optimism. There will no doubt be down times ahead, but while you have the chance, let yourself go a little and face tomorrow when it comes.

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