Finding Peace After Grief this Holiday Season
The holidays can be an overwhelming time for families and individuals who have recently lost a loved one, as well as for those who are still experiencing grief from an earlier loss. For some of us, a new reality can start to come into light. A reality that this year there may be an empty chair at our family table. The loss of a family member, a friend or someone that played a key role in our lives becomes a little heavier around the holiday season. Whether the loss happened this year or many years ago, the longing for that empty chair to be filled is still there.
Sometimes it may seem as if everyone in the world around you is joyously awaiting the holiday season, while your happiness is blurred by grief. This grief is normal, but so is the togetherness with family and friends that the holidays bring. Sharing joy amongst your family can soften the burden of loss a little this season, as they probably also share your feelings of grief and loss. It is good to try to have a mutual understanding that the holidays and family gatherings are not a reminder of loss, as much as they are an opportunity for new growth.
Family trees lose leaves as they gain branches. New traditions and meals shared amongst blended family come into our lives as families grow and new relationships form. It is okay to miss “The Old Days” and it is even better to talk about them with your family’s new generation. Those conversations are something they can carry with them that will uphold legacy and traditions made by those who are no longer here with us.
This holiday season if you, like many of us, are preparing for an empty chair at the table, remember that the physical loss of a loved one is the hardest part of getting through life without that person. It is the spiritual connection, the legacy, and the love that lives on in you which has unbroken continuity.