being alone Holidays Sadness
Grief, Loss and Christmas
My blog is a place and resource for seniors and their families to explore and learn about reverse loans, but over the years I have written about many issues that concern seniors and what it means to be older.
And this is one of those times when I won’t be talking about reverse mortgages but what it means to have someone die who you loved and how to move through the loss when the pain is so intense.
Everyone experiences death and grief and it is especially difficult the first year and experiencing the Holidays “alone”. When they are promoted as a time that is supposed to be happy, time with families ( And that is not always happy, but stressful), someone who is grieving can feel very alone.
I recently met Calista Anderson who is a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist for lunch and we discussed the sadness and grief that too many people are suffering from and the following “post” is her insights and suggestions on how to not shut out grief, but to let it become part of your life and still live fully.
Grief & The Holidays – A Personal Story
Growing up as a child, the holidays were always my favorite time of year. We put my snow globe collection out on display, picked out a healthy Douglas Fir from the Christmas Tree lot and made our rounds through the neighborhoods with the best Christmas decorations. This was a time that encapsulated family gatherings, gift-giving, family unity, and of course, delicious food. It was also a time when I was reunited with family I didn’t normally see, a pleasant reminder of the love in my life.
While many can relate to the experiences described above, for those who have lost a loved one, the holidays can develop a whole new meaning devoid of cheer. When my mother died in September of 2010, my entire world changed in the blink of an eye. I remember that first holiday season I came to the grave realization that she had been the cohesive force that unified our family. Grief – a five little word that held so much complexity. Not only was our family grieving the loss of my mother, but we were subsequently grieving the loss of each other and the holidays because of her death.
A long and painful eight years passed before I was able to truly heal my broken heart caused by the death of my mother. Despite being successful both professionally and academically, it was evident to me that the memories of my mother haunted me, and her death negatively impacted my happiness, my quality of life, and even my relationships. When a friend had mentioned Grief Recovery, I was a bit taken back – confused about the words “Grief” and “Recovery” next to each other. It was my understanding that “grief” and “pain” were somewhat synonymous and that ultimately the pain from grief was just a sad fact of life every person must surrender to. But, to recover from grief? Needless to say, my skepticism was alive and well.
Prior to Grief Recovery, I had attended grief support groups and benefited tremendously in the short-term from the ability to process feelings, temporarily relieve built-up emotions, and identify with other griever’s experiences. What differed from Grief Recovery, in relation to grief support, was that Grief Recovery was an evidence-based, action- based program that provided long-term relief from grief. In a series of six sessions, I learned all about the misinformation surrounding grief, the proper way to approach myself and others who had experienced a loss of any kind and was able to identify what was left emotionally incomplete with my mother. By going through this process, I was then able to complete the relationship with my mother, resolving my grief, and subsequently transforming my perspective of the memories I shared with her, her death, and my life overall. As a result, the Grief Recovery Method allowed me to re-engage with life in a way like never before. In hindsight, I had no idea how much I was suffering due to my broken heart until I experienced what it felt like to truly heal.
One of the most magical gifts Grief Recovery has given me is the ability to fill my mother’s shoes during the holidays. With my heart mended, I can now be the cohesive force that unites my family during the holiday season. While we will always miss her, she is irreplaceable, and the holidays will never be the same without her, I am grateful that our family is back together. Equally as important, I have fallen back in love with my favorite time of year.
If you are suffering from a death or non-death related loss, or resonate with anything mentioned above, you can contact the author directly at:
(323) 475 1080
Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, Living Beyond Grief
(323) 475 1080 | LivingBeyondGrief@gmail.com