.  Holidays are by nature nostalgic, and even the happiest of memories can be painful when one is grieving.  Below are several suggestions that can help you throughout the holidays.  Remember, holidays can still be significant times for you.  They will be different, but they can still be meaningful. 

           –  Be prepared!  Don’t be taken off guard.  Be prepared for the holidays to be an emotional time for you.  Don’t be surprised by sadness, loneliness, anger, yearnings or any other feelings.   Openly share with family and friends what’s on your mind.  Tell them how they can be most helpful to you.     

          – “Remember their Story.”  Share with others special memories of past

holidays with your loved one through stories, photographs and mementos.  Quietly recall these nostalgic reminders especially when you experience unexpected moments of grief.       

            –  Communicate openly.   Take the initiative and talk openly about your loved one.  Very often family and friends think they are doing you a favor by not mentioning your loved one, especially during special holidays or occasions.  You know how much this person is on your mind right now – let others know that too.   

        –  Change traditions.  Don’t be afraid to change traditional holiday celebrations.

The more you try to keep things exactly as they were before, the more painful your loved one’s absence will seem.  There will always be some traditions you will still want to honor, but you can start by changing small things such as having dinner at a different time or in a different family member’s home.  “Eating out” might even be an option.  Changing tradition is a sign that your life has now changed.    

            –  Pay attention!  Pay attention to yourself.  If you’re tired, rest.  If you don’t want to participate in some part of the holiday celebration, say “no.”  If you’re feeling emotional and want to cry, let the tears flow.  If you need more rest or privacy, take extra time for yourself.  Pay attention and be kind to yourself.  Your family and friends will want these same things for you.