Whole Life Magazine

December 2019 / January 2020

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Page 12 of 31

December 2019/January 2020 13 "H olidays are times spent with loved ones," has been imprinted on our psyche from a young age. Holidays mark the passage of time in our lives. They are part of the milestones we share with each other and they generally represent time spent with family. But since holidays are for being with those we love the most, how on earth can anyone be expected to cope with them when a loved one has died? For many people, this is the hardest part of grieving, when we miss our loved ones even more than usual. How can you celebrate togetherness when there is none? When you have lost someone special, your world lacks its celebratory qualities. Holidays only magnify the loss. The sadness feels sadder and the loneliness goes deeper. The need for support may be the greatest during the holidays. Pretending you don't hurt and/or it isn't a harder time of the year is just not the truth for you. But you can — and will — get through the holidays. Rather than avoiding the feelings of grief, lean into them. It is not the grief you want to avoid; it is the pain. No one can take that pain away, but grief is not just pain, grief is love. I wanted people to find a cushion to their grief and I think that is the sixth stage of grief: Meaning. Ways to Find Meaning During the Holidays There are several ways to find meaning during the holidays. u Say a prayer about your loved one before a holiday dinner. u Light a candle for your loved one. u Create an online tribute for them. Post a picture of them from previous holidays. u Share a favorite story about your loved one at the dinner table. u Have everyone tell a funny story about your loved one. u At your place of worship, remember them in prayer. u Chat online about them. u Do, in grief, pay extra attention to the children. Children are too often the forgotten grievers. Just Remember Holidays are clearly some of the roughest terrains we navigate after a loss. Finding meaning in the loss is as individual as we are. We often say a part of us died with them but meaning is also realizing a part of them still lives within us. What is vitally important is that we be present for the loss in whatever form the holidays do or don't take. These holidays are part of the grieving journey that we must fully feel. They are usually very sad, but sometimes we may catch ourselves doing okay, and we may even have a brief moment of laughter. Now more than ever, be gentle with yourself. Don't do more than you want, and don't do anything that does not serve your soul, your loss, and the meaning that still lives within you. David Kessler is one of the world's foremost experts on grief. His experience with thousands of people on the edge of life and death has taught him the secrets to living a fulfilled life, even after tragedy. He is the author of several books and co-authored On Grief and Grieving and Life Lessons with Elizabeth Kübler-Ross. His most recent book is Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief. Visit www.Grief.com. inspiration Navigating the Holidays and Grief FINDING MEANING By David Kessler

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