Encouraging Note Concerning Holidays
The holidays are quickly approaching, and I know that many of you may be anticipating the coming days with dread and feelings of fear as to what they may be like without your loved one with you. We can certainly expend mountains of energy dreading and fearing these special times. We either "awfulize" about how we're going to feel--painting dreadful mental pictures of searing, unbearable pain or hysterical reactions.
Some of us may absolutely refuse to allow our minds to even touch on thoughts of the days. Either way, the dread and fear can overwhelm us. Here are a few suggestions that I'd like to make for you that may help:
First of all, remember that it is perfectly normal to be afraid of what we THINK might happen. Our reaction to the death of our loved one is so unlike anything we ever expected that we are sure that the holidays are going to be even worse. Let me assure you. Just as your grief reactions are normal, so is your fear.
Secondly, remember that by the time "the day" arrives, you have completed most of the hard work of the holidays. It's is in the DOING of holiday tasks that the pain lies, so, by the time the day arrives, the real work is over. :-)
Thirdly, know that the day is only twenty-four hours long. You'll get through it like you get through any other day - some harder, some easier.
Lastly, take charge of your fear. Tell yourself that it's okay to have any emotion that you want about the holidays. Make concrete plans for your behavior. Give yourself permission to cry or scream or, yes, even laugh if you feel like it.
Make contingent plans that you can put into practice if you actually become distraught. I have found that having control over my emotions and knowing that it's really no different from any other day helps. I tell myself that I don't HAVE to be sad.
With Thanksgiving approaching, as well as Christmas, I try to be thankful for all of my blessings and the all of the people who are still with me instead of dwelling on what I don't have. Instead of looking at the empty chair, look at all of the full chairs.
If you would rather spend the day alone, then do it and don't let anyone make you feel badly. If you want to do things differently than before, then do it differently. The bottom line is that you have to be able to allow yourself to do what you feel you need to do to get through the day.
Blessings to all of you. I hope I helped.