Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tried and True Tips for making it through the holidays without loved ones

As part of my ministry to the bereaved and broken hearted I will be sharing tried and true tips for getting through the holiday season without your loved ones.

Tip #1 for making it through the holidays if you are still grieving over the loss of a loved one by death or divorce. Be intentional about making plans for the holidays. They will sneak up on you before you know it and everyone will think that someone else has invited you over for the holidays and you will end up home ALONE!
Let others know that you have made NO PLANS this year! Intentionally pla...n to do things differently than you would have with the loved one so that your past happy family memories won't weigh you down mentally and emotionally during the holidays. Create new holiday traditions with the family you still have and if remembering loved ones gone is comforting to you then by all means talk about them! Take away tip: Intentionally plan for how you will spend this holiday.

Tip #2 for making it through the holidays without your loved one. Create a 9-1-1 list of family and friends you can call when the going gets tough with overwhelming thoughts and memories.

You don't want to "catch up" anybody new to your testimony. These are people who already know your story and can pick up where you are emotionally by just hearing you breathe on the phone! They know you, they kn...ow what going it alone means to you this year and they are willing to be there for you at the drop of a hat.

Your 911 list is your emergency contact list when panic sets in, when grief overtakes you, when loneliness in the midst of company resonates with you - these are the people who understand what you are going through without you having to explain.

Compile that name list, keep it handy, and on speed dial and let them know who else is on that list so that they can keep up with what is happening to and with you. You want your 911 list to know and talk to each other, they will pray for you, intercede for you and cover each other as they all stand by you on this grief journey.

Tip #3 for making it through the holidays without a loved one. The last tip I will share for this series is forgive youself! Yes, FORGIVE YOURSELF for not wanting to participate in the holiday ra-ra-ra. Everyone else around you is going full speed ahead with the hustle and bustle of the holiday traditions of shopping, parties, tree trimming and the like and you just ain't feeling it, right? So what! Allow yourself to experience your true emotions and don't fake the funk. You're not there this year and those who know you realize that this is a difficult time for you.

Everywhere you turn you are reminded that your family has changed and so will your memories of the holidays going forward. It takes time to digest just how far reaching your loss is for you and your family and you need to be gentle with yourself. The world has not stopped to recognize that all of us aren't celebrating and we need not "hate on them" for not remembering that, LOL. If you have followed me and my first two tips, now is the time to implement them along with this final tip to help you make it through this holiday season.

You have Christmas AND New Year's to get through still, be on the lookout for the same emotions to come up next week as we turn the calendar on a new year. Same emotions, different day, same principles need to be applied! Let me know how you are doing this holiday season by posting your comments below, thanks!