Managing grief at Christmas
ONE of the deepest sources of grief can be spending the Christmas period without someone you love.
No matter how much planning you put into it, there will be some part of every meaningful event that is filled with a form of sadness or grief for you. Even if the rest of your family/friends are doing their best to include you, you are very likely going to have moments where grief washes over you.
But maybe grief is not what you experience the most at this time of year. Maybe it is loneliness or longing for your relative or a person who impacted your life but is no longer with us. Don’t underestimate how intense these feelings can be around Christmas.
It’s perfectly fine if grief isn’t the only thing that occupies your thoughts during this time of year. But no matter what grief means for your life right now, there are some things that are universal when it comes to grief and Christmas.
- Things will never be exactly as they used to be
- You may have to find a balance between grief and celebrating, and
- There are things you can do that will help you keep them near such as buying a special gift for yourself (or someone else) in memory of them, hanging a special Christmas ornament or lighting a memorial candle for the day.
Kings Funerals’ complimentary bereavement service, The Grief Centre, offers some suggestions that you might find helpful this Christmas:
- Remember that sadness and happiness do not cancel each other out. It is important to be able to laugh as well as cry
- There is no wrong or right way to deal with the day. Some will choose to carry on family traditions or you may choose to do something completely different, perhaps start a new tradition
- Prepare ahead to help reduce stress, and
- Try and enlist others to help where you need it.
“If there’s one important thing we have learnt, it’s that grief affects us in many ways. Try not to judge yourself or others and hold compassion,” notes Beth King, general manager of Kings Funerals.
“Even if grief is not your companion at this time of year, remember that others around you might be struggling with grief so it is important to show kindness.”
She suggests that if someone opens up to you about it, listen intently without judgement or interruption. Offer words of comfort but also please let the person grieve in their own way without trying to fix anything for them.
For those seeking a safe space for connection and reflection of a life lived this Christmas, Kings Funerals is holding its annual free community event, ‘Caring at Christmas’ – a memorial for anyone facing Christmas without someone they love.
Guests can enjoy music performed by local artist, Kim Cooper, light refreshments and a time to honour and remember those who cannot be with us.
Kings Funerals’ comfort dog, Womble, will also be present to lend a comforting paw.
When: Tuesday, December 7, 2021 from 6.30pm-7.30pm. Followed by light refreshments.
Where: Kings Funerals – Newcomb Chapel, 130 Bellarine Hwy.
RSVP: By November 30, 2021 via email [email protected] or go to kingsfunerals.com.au. Should you wish, please attach a photo of the person you would like to be remembered along with their name.
Donations: This Christmas, Kings Funerals is supporting local charity, Geelong Mums, with all donations going toward helping children and families in need.
Guests can contribute by placing children’s books under the Kings Christmas Tree. All books must be unwrapped and smaller than 30cm. Donations can be made at geelongmums.org.