Loss and Holiday Stress

Loss and Holiday Stress


By Barbara Gould

The past year has been one of trauma and stress for untold numbers of people. If you are one of the thousands that have suffered a loss and are wondering how you are going to face the upcoming holidays, perhaps making some major changes in your traditions could be the answer.

This is not to imply that you need to forget, that is not possible or appropriate; it is to say that missing a loved one can be much more pronounced at this time of the year. Memories do not always bring forth joy and happiness. Quite the contrary, they can cause a person great sadness and emptiness. The love is still there and emotions are bound to run high. Music, a sudden storm, incoming mail, scenes and scents of the old familiar setting can bring tears.

You need to plan ahead on how you feel the holiday season should be handled in your own particular case. Breaking of tradition can be a good beginning. Change of pace throughout the season. Just because you always did something a certain way or spent the holiday at a certain place does not mean the world will come to a stop if you choose to go in a different direction. Something as incidental as buying pies instead of baking them yourself can lighten the load. This frees you up to get more rest, do something that is fulfilling rather than depressing. Some people would find fulfillment and joy and relaxation in baking....sort of a therapy! Each individual must make their own choice in what is going to be the least taxing on them personally. You must get over he feeling that something is expected of you so you have to do it! It is natural to slow down, feel fatigued with extreme lack of energy and enthusiasm after a loss.

The 'loss' does not necessarily mean a death. Loss can result from empty nest syndrome, or a son or daughter moving away from the area. Divorce...death is not the only cause of loss.

Talk about the cause of your feeling, trying to avoid mentioning a name or memory just compounds the stress factor. What is wrong with remembering that this was Mom's favorite candy dish, or how much Dad loved turkey? Happy times are what great memories are made of.

Not all memories are great! These need to be talked about as well. Unwelcome or sad memories that bring back feelings of animosity and pain need to be discussed; sometimes to purge the unpleasant and let go of the past. If you are able to do this it is entirely possible that you can replace them with thoughts of happier times.

Do what is right for you! If crying makes you feel better then cry. If you need to pray, then pray; it will help to renew your faith Renew your resources for continuing on in a productive and satisfactory life style by taking time to inventory you feelings, as well as what direction you want to pursue. Holidays mean different things to different people. If change is in order do not be afraid to initiate it in the direction you wish to see it go.

There is not a whole lot that is written in stone. Grief is both a necessity and a privilege. Don't let anyone rob you of this, you have earned it. First and foremost, be patient with yourself, take your time in all decisions and do not feel guilty if you find you can enjoy the holidays.

Life is full of transition, death and parting being a major part of life.


About the Author

Barbara Gould is an on-line Columnist and author of "Weird Old Woman Down The Road, and Other Minor Observations." She has other poetry, short stories and articles on aging available. You may contact her at mtnmagpie@yahoo.com Or visit her at The Senior Courier or BarbsBylines.com

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