It’s hard when you are dealing with grief during the holidays. Grief is hard enough. Then you add the cheer that’s all around you.
When my husband died on Thanksgiving, I remember going Christmas Shopping in early December. People were so happy and cheerful. I felt so alone. Nobody could even come close to understanding the loneliness and sadness I was feeling.
As hard as it was I had to just go on and remember that the people around me don’t know what happened to me. And they should be enjoying the holidays.
As much as I wanted to I couldn’t. It was everything I could do to go out in public without crying. But I managed. The one thing I learned is that people didn’t understand and I unfortunately had to just deal with it. Sure I could have played the violin but I knew that there was no way for people to know or understand unless they were in my shoes.
I learned early on that you can’t fault people for not understanding and that even though I was the one grieving I had to give people the benefit of the doubt.
My saving grace was that I went to a bereavement group. That helped keep me from feeling so alone even though I was. Don’t get me wrong, there were people around. My parents even came in and stayed with me for a while. But I the alone is the feeling inside. You can be in a crowded room and feel alone. That’s when I learned the true meaning of feeling alone.
So what do you do over the holidays? Well it’s not easy, but you have to give yourself permission to change your mind. You may feel great today but not tomorrow. The best thing to do is to make plans with the preface that you may not feel up to it that day. Knowing that you have plans and that it’s ok to change your mind makes all the difference in the world.
You will be surprised at how much people will understand. I always tell people that they can use me. You can too. If you have plans and you decide last minute you aren’t up for it, tell them Jackie gave you permission to change your mind for at least one year after your loss.
Remember, dealing with grief over the holidays is hard, but not impossible. Keep your chin up and do the best you can.