Grief and the Holidays – part 3

candlesMy last two posts about grief and the holidays have focused on some of the feelings and emotions of grief during the holidays.  Today I want to offer some practical ideas/actions that one can take to help cope during the holidays; to help re-frame our experience and see our grief from a different perspective.  I offer these ideas as an invitation to continue healing at a deeper level.

  • Place an empty chair at the table as a visual reminder of your loved one. The relationship has changed, but they are still with us in our hearts.  The empty chair can serve as a reminder of God’s promise that “love never ends.”  The love that our loved one held for us and the love that we hold for them is still very real and present.  The empty chair is a visual reminder of the change in our relationship, but that there is also hope in eternal, everlasting love.

  • Light a candle in memory of your loved one and place it in a prominent place as a reminder that they are still with us in our hearts, and that their light still shines brightly and can still guide us today.

  • When you gather with family and friends for a meal or gift exchange or other time of celebrating, have everyone gathered share a memory or something they are particularly thankful for as they remember their loved one.

  • You can write a letter to your loved one.  Tell them what you miss.  Tell them how they used to make the holidays special.  This can also become a prayer letter to God…

  • Make a donation to a meaningful charity or organization in memory of your loved one. This helps the legacy of our loved one continue to spread and make a difference in others lives.

Each of these suggestions are about remembering and continuing to give thanks for your loved one’s life and love.  Remembering and telling stories is a very important part of the grief journey and can help move us through the painful aspects.  Memories do not and can not replace our loved one, but they can help honor our loved one’s life and continue to give their life meaning, as well as help give you strength and hope.

As always, I continue to hold you in the healing light of God’s love,

Michael