Christmas is one of the most difficult times of the year for those of us who have lost a Loved One. What is supposed to be a time of family, love, laughter and happiness, can sometimes be a reminder of those that we are missing.
For some of us, our grandparents or the matriarch’s and patriarch’s of our family, were usually the ones who held on the time honoured traditions, like Christmas Dinner/Lunch and family gatherings, and as they pass away, sometimes it can feel like those big family gatherings become less often.
Why Does Grief Feel Worse During This Time?
Grief is a unique thing, you wouldn’t be wrong for calling it a bit of a monster at times. I am often reminded though of that little quote that says “Grief is the price we pay for Love”. At Christmas and other significant times throughout the year, it seems like those feelings that we had long come to terms with, are thrust back into the forefront of our minds.
And that is completely normal.
Our memories of our Loved Ones are triggered by little things, smells, taste, sounds, moments. For me, I am always reminded of my Dad when I get a waft of Brut after shave. Sometimes it comes to me right at the moment I need it most, and other times I just get a waft of it and it reminds me of my Dad. Those times my feelings are mixed. I am happy because I have my memories, but sad because he is not here.
Christmas is one of those times where our senses are heightened and our memories are triggered with minimal effort. We can thank our highly sophisticated brains for this. I like to think though, that it is a little reminder or a sign from our loved ones, that they are with us, are part of our new normal, just in a different way.
How Can I Incorporate My Loved One Into This Time Of Year?
Rituals are a brilliant way to include your Loved One in the festive seasons. Let’s not forget that Christmas is one big ritual, so it can be really easy to make sure their legacy is still a big part of the day.
It doesn’t have to be anything formal or structured though, it can be as simple as sharing a story, a memory, or raising a glass in their honour. You could have your family all share their favourite memory of your Loved One from Christmas’s past. One of my favourites was from my Grandmother, who could be a little grumpy at times. One time my cousin, who was quite young at the time, piped up and said “Don’t get shi**y, it’s Christmas!”. As simple as it sounds, it caused a roar of laughter from everyone, Nan included, and was a regular feature at Christmas every year since.
What Other Rituals Could I Incorporate?
Here are a few examples of different rituals you could include in your Christmas celebration this year to keep your Loved One’s part of the day.
- Light a Candle for them
- Place their photo on the table
- Make a toast in their honour
- Set an Angel place or have an Angel chair
- Play their favourite song
- Tell a story from their life
Regardless of how you choose to honour your Loved One at Christmas and other festive times throughout the year, it is important to remember all of the wonderful times that you shared with them, don’t dwell on the things that they didn’t get to share with you. I am sure if you look back at their life, they had a full, rich life, filled with love, laughter and great memories. Those are the things they would want you to remember.
Remember to be with each other at these times. Share these memories and create new ones that still include your Loved Ones. Remember that grief is not a destination for you to arrive at, it is a journey, it changes, it evolves and it becomes easier to live with.
So from our family to your family this Christmas, we wish you, your loved ones both past and present, a wonderful Christmas and a Happy and Safe New Year.
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