Whether 2 months or 20 years have passed, when you’ve lost a loved one Christmas can be hard. We are sold the myth that we get over grief and can be caught off guard when a sudden wave of emotion comes over us and leaves us feeling like we have been transported back to an earlier part of our grief journey. These waves can happen at any time and often unexpectedly but they are perfectly normal. Here are 5 simple things to do to help you get through the festive season when you are feeling the absence of someone you love.
In part 1 of this 2-part series, we looked at 5 of the most common misconceptions about grief; things people say ad-lib that we have come to believe to be true. These false beliefs can often make us feel like we are doing it wrong when it comes to our grief, but each grief we experience is as unique as a snowflake. Your grief for a particular person or situation will be very different from someone else who is grieving that same loss, and you will likely never grieve two losses identically.
Before we dive in, take a deep breath, put your two hands over your heart and appreciate yourself for every step you have taken so far on this difficult journey, acknowledge that you are exploring new territory without any maps or signposts and that you are doing your best, whatever that means in this moment, and your bet changes from day to day, moment to moment.
In our fast-paced, grief-avoidant society we rush to tick the task of grieving off our to-do list as quickly as possible. We don’t want to embrace pain or suffering or confront the reality of our own mortality and many misconceptions about grief and grieving are born from this. Everybody experiences grief yet nobody wants to talk about it which has resulted in a lot of misconceptions forming. Grief myths can create obstacles to mourning and add to the anguish and confusion of the bereaved.
This 2-part myth-busting series aims to challenge these fallacies and normalise the grief experience by honouring the uniqueness of each loss and the individuality of the responses to them.
Grief is uncomfortable. It’s uncomfortable for those who are experiencing it and often for those who observe it. In our grief-avoidant society we stumble clumsily through our interactions with the bereaved, hoping for a quick escape. Seeing someone in pain makes us shrink back, fearing that the intensity of their anguish will spill over and we won’t know what to do, or that their pain will wake something in us that has long remained dormant. How then can we get comfortable enough with grief so we can show up powerfully when our loved ones are hurting?