Honor those you miss during holidays

After the death of a loved one, the first Thanksgiving and Christmas are the hardest holidays to cope with grief. The difficulty of grief and the holidays is the absence of your loved one.

The fact that they are not there leaves a gaping hole in the festivities. Here are some ideas to help cope with holiday grief.

  1. Know your limits. Be realistic about what you can and cannot do. It is okay to admit that you cannot handle doing some of the things you have done in the previous years with your loved one.

  2. Buy yourself a gift from your loved one. Think of something that your loved one would have bought for you and get it for yourself. This will help remember their love.

  3. Buy a gift for your loved one and give it to someone who would like it. You can do this in honor of them. For example, if your child died you could buy toys and give them to other children.

  4. Think about how you will deal with your emotions ahead of time. Have a plan for how you will handle those things that could possibly trigger sadness.

  5. Find comfort in happy memories. Remember a time during the holidays when you were with your loved one and you were filled with joy and love. Think of those good times and enjoy the emotions you had.

  6. Take care of yourself physically. The state of your body contributes to the state of your emotions. Too many sweets, late nights and a busy schedule will bring you down. Give your body a rest.

Although there is no way to bring back your loved one and no easy way to deal with grief, there are ways to honor your loved one. Look for ways that would honor the relationship you had.

Michael Fowler Sr., CFSP, is president of the georgia Funeral Service Practitioners Association and is a retired death investigation specialist/forensic pathology assistant with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab. This is the first in a series of a monthly columns he is writing for The Albany Herald.