WHEN NO ONE UNDERSTANDS

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Why doesn’t anyone understand how you feel?

It’s definitely one of those things where “you had to be there” rings true.  You can’t possibly know what it’s like to lose a loved one until it happens to you.  And when you’re grieving, it can sometimes feel like no one understands what you’re going through.  People you thought would be there for you no matter what, seem to drop away.  People often say the old clichés like, “they’re in a better place,” or, “at least they’re out of their suffering.”  Sure, THEY’RE out of their suffering but you aren’t!  You’re the one living without them.  Here’s what you can do to help your friends understand how to be there for you during your grieving process:

  1. Don’t be afraid to tell your friends what you need from them. “When I cry, just give me a hug.” Or, “When I cry, don’t walk away from me.”
  2. Go ahead and mention your loved one’s name out loud in conversations. By doing this, you provide a model or example to your friends that it is okay to recall something funny or memorable about your loved one.
  3. When people do make awkward comments or fumble with what to say to you, remember that they are often well-intentioned and just don’t know what to say. They haven’t been there. Yet.
  4. Tell friends and understand for yourself that crying is okay and sometimes necessary.  Their efforts at preventing you from crying or their avoidance of mentioning your loved one only prolongs your grieving process.
  5. Allow your framily to be the for you. Don’t hide from them all the time. Take them up sometimes on their offers to support you.

WHEN THE HOLIDAYS AREN’T HAPPY

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When the Holidays aren’t Happy – grief through the holidays
When you are grieving the loss of a loved one, the holidays can be anything but merry and bright. While others around you are celebrating and full of good cheer, you may find yourself feeling just the opposite. The times of the season seem to almost assault you as you hear Christmas songs in every store and every commercial on television is about buying gifts and baking. The last thing you feel like doing is participating in holiday events. Here are some ways to approach the holidays and smoothly skate through to the New Year:
1. Remember that every special occasion, be it a holiday, a birthday, an anniversary, has 24 hours in that day. You will get through that 24-hour period just as you are this 24 hour period. One minute at a time, no faster, no slower.

2. Keep in mind that the dreadful anticipation of an upcoming family gathering or holiday party can sometimes be worse than the actual event itself. It’s all the time and energy you spend worrying about the future that could cause you more suffering and pain.

3. Consider changing tradition or altering plans. Sometimes insisting that the same holiday routines remain in place as if nothing has changed can put us under more pressure than necessary. Something has changed. Someone has died and will not be there. Changing the tradition, maybe only for one year, could be what’s most needed.

4. Allow yourself time to step away and have moments of solitude. Taking an inventory on your thoughts and feelings can help prevent you from becoming too overwhelmed during one particular moment or at a time you’re trying to be jolly with others.

5. Give yourself permission to say no. If you have to decline an invitation, it’s okay. If you have to leave a dinner party early, that is also okay.

The bottom line is, you will survive the first holiday, birthday, vacation, celebration and anniversary without your loved one. Remind yourself that your process is a normal reaction that all humans experience. You will feel better again soon.