When you are grieving the lead up to Christmas can bring very mixed emotions. The expectation that it is a 'wonderful time of the year' is piped through shop speakers or our televisions. But what if you have lost someone close to you and this is your first Christmas without them? How do you begin to navigate the seasonal expectations and put on a face that others want to see? Grief can feel like fear, it can leave you feeling more anxious or a sense of not being okay. We do not always sit in our grief, sometimes we have days that we can smile and laugh, but others it can hit hard and be painful. We don't fix grief we learn to live around it. Imagine a fried egg when you crack the shell the first thing you see is a yellow yolk, but slowly the white spreads and surrounds it. The shape might change but the yolk always stays the same.
Although Christmas will be different, your memories will live on. What were the traditions you had with your loved one, could you continue these? Touchstones to memory are important as we move through our new world without a loved one. Celebrating what was special about the relationship can be a helpful way to remember, but also create new traditions which include those memories. If you are with someone who has experienced a bereavement it is important to talk about the person they have loved. We might think it will protect them from being sad, but they can actually feel isolated and alone with their sorrow, worried that they are going to be too much.
If you are finding it hard to navigate your loss counselling can be a safe space to explore your emotions. Understanding the cycle of grief and that it isn't linear can be helpful. There is no right or wrong way to grieve and even in the same family you will all process the loss differently. Be kind to yourself and trust in your instincts. Try not to adapt to others needs or expectations and leave yourself space to feel.
National Grief Awareness Week
The Good Grief Trust