By David Coy
The majority of people who have so graciously chosen to share their life stories and struggles with me during their journey with grief have stated that evenings when they are alone with their thoughts are among the most difficult of times for them to endure. There is also the winter season when people of maturity who ordinarily enjoy the outdoors and the warmth of the sun have been shut in. There is yet another first when it comes to the struggle of those who are learning to move forward since the loss of their loved one(s). Many do not look forward to special days or events that they previously shared with the deceased, such as the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Historically, it has meant tradition. From the food to the decorations to the seating arrangement even to the place where everyone has come to eat and fellowship, the holiday holds deep traditions in the lives of everyone in the family.
How do we survive the holidays? First, did we enjoy them previously? If not then, we might have no desire to rebuild them, even if other family members wish we would. If they were happy times filled with memories then we can feel good about a plan to reconnect with the holidays and with family that remains. We can either take up where we left off, or we can create a new tradition according to our own new plans. Doug Manning a prolific writer has written a booklet entitled, Permission to Grieve. Give yourself permission to cry, to feel guilty, to feel angry, or whatever other emotions you may feel. Yes, even feel happy because it is normal and healthy. Tan Neng said, “Joy and pain can live in the same house. Neither should deny the other.”
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