By Jennifer McBride, MA, FT, DM
As I walked through the grocery store I saw all the displays set up for Mother’s Day. While many are celebrating, we must take good and gentle care of ourselves and be mindful of others when the upcoming holidays might be times of grieving for loved ones who are no longer with us.
Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Memorial Day and many other occasions can bring both joy and sorrow. The significant times in a person’s life, times not on everyone’s calendars, can be especially difficult.
These might include:
- Anniversary of the death
- Wedding anniversaries
- Birthdays of other family members
- Major family occasions such as weddings, baptisms, graduations or other milestones
There are many ways to observe and commemorate these important occasions, such as visiting the final resting place of a family member or finding a visual, verbal or symbolic way to remind others of a special person’s continued presence in the life and history of your family. Recently, one family shared favorite memories of their loved one. There was laughter. There were tears. And there was relief brought about by sharing feelings honestly and directly.
Knowing that there is no right way or wrong way to grieve, only your way, gives you permission to do what is best for yourself and those close to you. Here are some suggestions…
- Care for yourself – mind, body & spirit.
Do things that are helpful, nourishing and comforting for you, such as listening to music, having quiet time, enjoying a cup of tea or a bath that can be soothing.
- Reserve the right to change your mind.
Well-meaning people may extend invitations, and even press us to attend. Just because someone invites, doesn’t mean our attendance is required. Care for yourself in terms of how much socializing you can tolerate. People who truly care will understand if you tell them how you are feeling.
- Keep some traditions… or create new ones.
Some people wish to do things in the ways they’ve always done them. This can be the best thing for some, but others might find it helpful to create new traditions or do something completely different. Exercise your right to grieve in your own way.
- Acknowledge that life has changed.
Sometimes people don’t want to mention the name of the person who died, thinking that this is easier for us and what we would prefer.. Let people know through your words and actions that it’s OK to speak of the person who died. Set a place at the table and perhaps place a candle or photograph there that shows that that person’s presence is still felt.
Please know that our care and support continues. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-577-6057. Wishing you peace…