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  • How to Cope with Grief through the Special Days of the Year

  • Grief Counseling

Grief is unpredictable, but one can expect that on certain special days and annual events, emotions will be stronger than other days. These ‘special’ days may include holidays, birthdays, or even anniversaries. They may have once been a positive, exciting, and happy day in your life, and now are a reminder of someone who is no longer here and how things have changed. There is no correct way to handle these days, but you can discuss options for you and your family on how you want to honor the day.

Here are a few tips and ideas to consider to cope with grief when planning for your upcoming special days:

  • Continuing tradition: It may be important to continue a tradition in someone’s memory. Traditions can be a gathering place, a food, an activity, etc.
  • New ideas: It may be more comfortable to develop new rituals to help cope with the loss of a loved one. If a certain tradition was only ever done by the person, some may feel that the tradition should stop at them.
  • Timing: Think about whether you and the family want to hold the event on the actual day or offset from it.
  • Amount of time: Grief is a draining emotion both physically and mentally. Although it may be nice to celebrate with others, remember to get rest before and after the event to prevent irritability and other emotions from presenting themselves.
  • Food: Food can be a tradition as well, but it is helpful to decide whether you will have everyone chip in on food, cater, go out somewhere, or one person make food. If there is a family recipe that is important to honor the person you have lost, decide who should prepare it.
  • Discussion: Remember, some may feel more comfortable talking about the person, whereas others may feel more upset. The topic of or stories of the person may be something everyone decides to (or not to) participate in.
  • Share the ideas: Once you’ve decided how to observe the time, let others know. Openly discussing sets expectations and allows you to prepare mentally for the day, with as few surprises or uneasy feelings as possible.

Sometimes the first year of special days is the hurdle that many must get over before being OK, but sometimes there will always be those days that grief presents itself no matter the time that passes. It’s important to remember whichever the path you are on is acceptable, and completely yours.

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