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Facing the Christmas Holiday Season After a Loss

The Christmas holidays are supposed to be a joyous time. But the first holiday season following the death of a loved one can be a time of great emotional stress and pain.
The good news is – the pain will lessen and you will be able to go on. You will never forget the love that you had or the memories that you shared. You will never forget the pain of separation – but the pain will lessen and the memories will grow sweeter.
And during this time of year there are several gifts that you can give to yourself to help you during this time of grief.
Reduce the pressure you put on yourself. How much are you able to do? How much do you want to do? Try not to take on more than you can do and don’t set expectations too high. Make time for yourself.

If the traditions that you shared with your loved one hurts – change the tradition. Rearrange the seating around the dinner table, open gifts at a different time or decorate the house in a new fashion. And consider starting a new tradition with a special gift to a charity or worthwhile organization in your loved one's memory.

Re-live the memories and talk about your grief. Encourage an honest open sharing of memories and feelings. Ignoring them will not make the pain go away. Speak of your loved one by name.

Don’t feel guilty if you find yourself having a good time.

Reach out to friends and family. They may not know what you may need or want--tell them.

Take comfort in poems and stories. 

Remember - no-one can replace the person who has died, nothing can replace the times you have had together or fill the gap that has been left in your life, but new experiences and different ways of doing things can help.
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