Grief doesn’t take a break over Christmas and any feelings of joy can feel forced or coerced. It’s not as simple as celebrating being alive yourself in this moment. Grief is complex. Having that empty place at the table can feel overwhelming. Whether this is your first festive period without them or your 50th the holidays can feel bittersweet so here are some suggestions if you are grieving or missing someone this time of year.
1. Write a Christmas/Solstice/New Year card to your departed beloved.
In the card write them a message.
The message can be as long or short as you wish – simply say what you’ve been wanting to say since they’ve not been physically with you in this life.
Write all the things you wished you had said and all the things you’ve been wanting to tell them since their death, departure or transition.
Share any news with them.
Recall special memories.
Tell them how much you love them.
Or, just write something simple such as “I love and miss you”
When you’ve finished, either put it up on display with all your other cards or, perhaps, on your bedside table or pop it in an envelope and keep it somewhere safe to read whenever you want to feel closer to them.
2, Light A Candle.
The idea behind this is to bring to mind a loved one who has died or someone who is struggling with a message for them.
Light the candle and leave it to glow.
Then as it goes out or is blown out the air carries your message to them.
If you feel that you yourself need the support right now it’s ok to send a message of support to yourself too.
3. Flames and smoke.
If you have a firepit or fireplace you may also wish to write down on a scrap piece of paper your grief, troubles, struggles or anything you wish to dissipate or be held.
Once you have written all you need scrunch the piece of paper up and toss it into the flames.
Allowing your words of suffering, as they transform to ashes, to smoke, to be held by the universe.
4. Maintain traditions.
Keeping the traditions that you shared, when your beloved was still here in physical form, going may help you feel just a little bit closer to them.
5. Alternatively do something completely different.
Not to forget or dismiss your grief but acknowledge that your life is different now that your person is no longer here. To usher in new experiences and make new memories.
6. Raise a glass to them at the table.
7. Take a memory walk.
Go for a walk in the place you enjoyed together. Breathe deeply. Smile if you can. And sense their presence alongside you.
8. Don’t feel you have to celebrate or participate at all.
Do what you need to withstand this difficult time even if that means declining invitations and feeling like a party pooper. It’s ok to spend this time just being peaceful with your own company and your own thoughts.
You can do these rituals for any occasion or for no reason at all.
It’s a little gift of connection to that someone, a continuing bond.
These small rituals can make you feel just that little bit closer to them.