Christmas and New Year are a time to celebrate and spend time with your family, or so they say. The truth is this time of year makes people remember those that have moved on and aren’t with us any more. I also feel very sorry for anyone who loses someone close to them at this time of the year. Christmas can be a bitter-sweet time for most of us.
On 22 December 2015, my family lost a very dear person and our lives haven’t been the same since. My step father had been in my life for over 15 years and he meant the world to my mother, he also held a very special place in my heart too. His name was James but he was known to lots of other people as Jambo, Jim or the Honey Monster. I called him Jamie – it made him young and fresh somehow! So this Christmas is bringing back a lot of memories and has made me cry as well as laugh at memories of him. He had been suffering from seizures for a while and then on that day he had a heart attack. We had only just celebrated his birthday a week before he passed.
Christmas Eve is also a time of the year where I remember the death of my Grandmother who passed away 10 years ago. I have very fond memories of my Grandmother and am thankful that she was in my life. She was very family orientated and helped to look after my brother and I. She passed away from old age but I wasn’t able to see her for the last few months as her memory faded and she couldn’t remember much, which was very distressing for my family.
I worry about my mother around this time of the year as she celebrates her birthday on Christmas Day (of all the days). This year she has to celebrate both her birthday and Christmas without the one person that was closest to her (apart from me of course).
This year I have found very strange. When the Christmas Coca Cola adverts started and the decorations were put up in the shops, people started to ask me ‘What are you doing for Christmas this year?’. This question caused me feelings of worry, thinking about what my mother would be doing. I give thanks for our little bundle of joy this year, as I hope Tobias can give all my family the strength to be able to enjoy Christmas and not make it a depressing time.
Not that I am an expert at grieving but here are my top tips to cope with Christmas after the loss of a loved one:
- DO talk to your friends and family. They will be grateful if you tell them what you need as they care about you and will be conscious of your loss. Just because they don’t mention it, doesn’t mean they don’t care, it just means they don’t know what to say and are afraid of upsetting you.
- DO schedule time in the day to perform a small ritual in memory of your loved one. Light a candle or look at some happy photos. Know that crying or feeling sad is completely normal and that the first Christmas will be the worst.
- DO plan at least one thing during the day just for you. Your loved one wouldn’t want you to feel miserable all day and I am sure they would want you to have fun.
- DO try to find an inspirational reading or poem that you can read during the day if you feel down.
- DO celebrate when you get to the end of the day; becuase you took control and not only survived, you found some pleasure in the day.