Lately, my blogs have told my own story of the loss of my 25 yr. old son Ben. There is more to tell, however, Easter is just around the corner. I love the promise of Easter, of life eternal. ``Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,`` Romans 6:8. This is a huge comfort and good news.
To ensure you got the support you need this holiday, this blog is devoted to putting a tool in your hand. The tool is my recent article about surviving Easter holidays, full of practical support for coping with loss. It will help you to make it the best holiday that it can be under the circumstances. So here it is…
Planning and Imagination are Key to Surviving Easter Holidays after Loss
Helga Bender, an authority on loss and grief coaching, offers tips for those experiencing bereavement or divorce at Easter.
Calgary, AB (March 25, 2015) – Getting through Easter, or any holiday can be very hard if you have suffered a loss. It is best to plan for it and focus on good memories. The idea of remembering may seem painful, but sharing happy memories can actually help to fill a little of that empty space inside.
“My sister died young of lung cancer, right at Easter. The following year the bunnies, baskets and tulips snuck up on me and it was hard,” says Helga Bender, Grief Coach. Holidays are poignant reminders.
Plan ahead by imagining what you would like to happen. You may want Easter to be more subdued then in the past and some like to include a celebration of your loved one too. You may want to emphasis family traditions or change it by adding a new activity like a hike, a religious service, an egg hunt or a cemetery visit.
“A little communication with others ahead of time goes a long way to ease the pain and even provide opportunities for healing,” explains Helga Bender. One new widow assumed her family would mention her loss at the family gathering but her family assumed that would upset her and did not mention his name at all. They meant well but a lack of communication resulted in an unnecessarily difficult holiday.
Sadness and tears may mingle with the laughter of fond recollections. This is especially true for children. They need to understand that there may be sadness at the event but it is ok for them to be happy and have fun too.
Here are five ideas for how to do Easter after loss:
1. At the meal, offer a prayer or a poem that expresses gratitude for your loved one. You can do it yourself or ask others.
2. Share memories while lingering at the table. Pass around a photo album to recall happy memories or ask family members to share fond memories. Remember to explain that anyone who feels uncomfortable can opt out of participating.
3. Give away some of your loved one’s favorite books or special items – if you are ready. Include a little explanation of the gift. Select the recipient or draw a number. It would be meaningful to those who share your loss.
4. Buy or decorate a candle with symbolic, non-flammable items or penned words. It can be just for yourself or shared and explained as you light it.
5. Plan a cemetery visit with a friend or family. Bring gardening tools or flowers to brighten it up.
Acknowledge the holiday and the grief and seek to work through it. But while you are doing this grief work, be kind to yourself. Schedule a break or a nap during the day since it is likely going to be emotionally taxing. Your courage will be rewarded, because next year it will be easier.
© Helga`s Coaching Blog 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Helga Bender and Helga's Coaching Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.