The holidays are an extraordinarily difficult time for those who are grieving the loss of someone they loved. We attach tremendous significance to special days and holidays, and our psyches preserve moments of joy and feelings of closeness that occur on these distinctive days. Who among us hasn’t reminisced about birthdays, family Christmas celebrations of years gone by, or our favorite Valentine’s Day memory? Or anniversary? All, of course, when our missing loved one was still with us.
A resurgence of grief during the holidays is a natural and normal part of the grieving process, and an experience that one must find a way to endure. In his book, Handling the Holidays, author Bruce Conley offers some suggestions for coping which he titles:
The Griever’s Holiday Bill of Rights
You have the right to say, “time out” anytime you need.
You have the right to “tell it like it is”.
You have the right to some “bah hum bug” days.
You have the right to do things differently.
You have the right to be where you want to be.
You have the right to some fun.
You have the right to change direction in mid-stream; grief is unpredictable.
You have the right to do things at different times.
You have the right to rest, peace, and solitude; you don’t need to be busy all the time.
You have the right to do it all different again next year.