Celebrating and Grieving During the Holidays

December 17, 2020

At the death of his best friend the poet Lord Alfred Tennyson wrote:

The yule-log sparkled keen with frost,
No wing of wind the region swept,
But over all things brooding slept
The quiet sense of something lost.

When we face the holidays absent of those who hold an intimate place in our heart and mind, we can find ourselves caught between the joy of the season and the grief we are still processing. There is an emptiness we need to acknowledge. In the acknowledgement of that quiet emptiness lies the space for our ability to joyfully celebrate and healthily grieve during the holiday season. The staff at Cypress Basin Hospice is aware of how difficult the holidays can be and that this can a frustrating place for families and friends. We offer these insights to help make the holiday season less overwhelming:

  • Realize and embrace the emotions of the season. Don’t pretend there is no sadness.
  • Plan ahead as much as possible trying to avoid spur of the moment decisions.
  • Maintain those traditions that are essential to your family’s celebration and, yet, don’t be afraid to develop new traditions. Talk with, and involve, other family members in the creation of these new experiences.
  • If this is the first holiday without your loved one set aside a specific time to honor their life and their presence among the gathered family. It is okay if this is an emotional time. Remember our emotions and our grief are reflections of our love.
  • Purchase or make an ornament in your loved one’s memory.
  • Make a donation to a church or organization in your loved one’s name.
  • Volunteer at a local charitable group.

Of course, the above list is not exhaustive. We can be as creative and unique in our remembrances as we choose. The important task is to engage fully in our celebration and grief knowing that we are honoring life and love shared through our loved one’s presence among us.

We hope these insights will help you celebrate and grieve in a healthy way this holiday season. Cypress Basin Hospice grief and bereavement services are available to the people and communities we serve. If we can be of service to you contact us at 903.577.1510 or you can contact me directly: m.davenport@cbhospice.org

Grace and peace,

Mark A. Davenport, M.Div.                                                                                                               Director of Bereavement Services

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