The newly bereaved are often taken aback when they discover that grief has changed more than just “the year of firsts.” As bereaved people, we heard a lot in the early days of grief about how we should be prepared for the first Christmas, first Mothers Day, first holidays that came after the death of our son. And it is true that we needed a lot of extra support during those “firsts” to cope with the waves of grief and to understand the continuing bonds of love while trying re-member our family that had been so dismembered by the shattering of grief.
But what no one told us was that this grief experience lasts long after the “firsts.”
I was utterly in shock when I hit my second Mothers Day and realized that I would be FOREVER without my son’s physical presence on this holiday. Every Mothers Day I faced, for the rest of my life, would be yet another holiday lived with the reality of my son’s non-existence. THAT was overwhelming.
So how can creativity help us when we get through the “firsts” and then face our entire lifetimes full of being without our loved ones on holidays? Well, we become our own best advocates, and we find out what our new priorities are for re-making the holidays into something meaningful again. As with everything on the grief path, there is no prescription for this that will fit every single one of us. We each have to find our way.
AND there are a lot of resources and folks out here who are willing to share and help us re-find meaning during holidays:
- The Creative Grief Studio has annual holiday kits available free each year to give ideas on creative activities that might be some heARTmaking as we both grieve and celebrate.
- We did a collaborative holiday post with some helpful ideas and tips here.
- WYG has a "Practical Plan for Dealing with the Holidays" over on their site.
- Do a Twitter search for "grief and holidays" and you'll find a plethora of information, services, and groups.
These are just a few starting points, just a smattering of ideas, for you to start discovering your own path. The possibilities are endless though, truly. You know what fits right for you and your family. You have every permission and right to re-make the holidays into something meaningful now that grief has changed your priorities and perspectives. And remember, by doing this kind of thing yourself, you model for and give permission to everyone around to do this kind of integration and re-creation themselves. By re-making the holidays, we engage in the potential for an even healthier community!
Reiki to all reading this,