The end of the year is a time marked by festivities and joy, both because of the symbolic holidays and the holiday season and the chance to get together with family and friends.
However, dealing with celebrations while also facing an empty chair that highlights the loss of a loved one can be a truly difficult time of grieving.
Mourning is necessary to feel the pain and rationalise the loss so that positive memories can be maintained without being painful in a second moment.
Going through this suffering is not easy and there is no manual that teaches us how to get rid of it faster. However, there are some things you can do during the holidays that will improve your emotional well-being and help you to cope.
Does grief ever pass or “go away”?
More than discovering ways to deal with this moment, it is necessary to understand that there is no specific time that determines when a person should stop feeling a loss.
Grief has a subjective cycle that must be respected, although there are some aspects that claim that grief can last from six months to two years, it is impossible to specify the duration of this cycle for each individual.
Each person has a different time to overcome a loss and pressuring someone to return to a "normal" life, without giving the necessary time, can lead to other problems or even an actual illness.
In addition to financial and professional problems, the clinical condition of a person in denial can evolve into a possible pathology, such as depression, anxiety and social isolation.
How to deal with grief at Christmas and end-of-year festivities
Each individual has their own way of dealing with their pain. For some, Christmas is the time to remember the good times with the person who passed away and celebrate all the memories. For others, the date accentuates the loss even more.
When dealing with the loss of a loved one, one thing to keep in mind is that there is no right or wrong way to go through the festivities. Furthermore, there are ways to alleviate the issue:
1. Respect your time and moment.
If you feel like you're not ready to get into the celebratory mood - like putting up the Christmas tree, putting up lights around the house, etc. - it's okay to let it go. Give yourself permission not to do the things you are finding difficult to do.
2. Allow yourself to feel.
All emotions, from anger to relief, are absolutely normal. Understand that what you are feeling is valid and that, in fact, the days leading up to commemorative dates can increase your sadness. So, allow yourself to feel.
3. Don't feel guilty about moments of happiness in the midst of sadness.
It's okay to laugh and have fun, even when the grief is new. If you have found a point of distraction and joy among friends, family or in your own company, embrace this moment without guilt.
4. Do something that you feel can help you.
You can talk to someone or, if you don't feel comfortable doing so, you can also write your thoughts and emotions in a journal. If you want to pay tribute to the person you lost, do so.
5. There is no right or wrong.
Not ignoring grief, not isolating yourself, accepting your feelings and expressing them in the way you think is most correct is ideal. There is no right or wrong, obligations or reason for shame, there are those who cry more and there are those who prefer to remain silent. There are no rules for how to experience a loss.
6. Consider seeking specialised help.
Rebuilding your life can be a huge challenge. To do this, count on friends and family for this fresh start. If that's not enough, invest in specialised medical monitoring and psychotherapies. Together they can restructure your emotions, prevent new losses and improve your quality of life, propelling you into a new cycle.