Reclaim the joy of the holidays
Brett/Pathway/Leave a Comment
Is there an empty chair at your holiday table?
The holidays can be a very difficult time for families who have have suffered the loss of a loved one.
Losing a family member is never easy. When the holidays come around, it can make it even harder. When family gathers, emotions often rise.
Add the emotion of loss is added to the menu, it can be a very difficult indeed.
The numerous "stages of grief" of everyone in the party, make it even more difficult. Worse ... is the tendency to avoid the obvious conversation.
Not addressing the emotions at hand can really create chaos in family gatherings.
The tension and avoidance can really cause distress when everyone gets together.
Here are some simple ideas to help you address the loss?
1. Actually address it.
I mean contact people and find out how they are doing. Ask them what their feeling about the gathering and what they are feeling about the loss.
Accept and validate their experience. It might be different than yours, but that does not make it wrong - it makes it theirs.
By addressing the emotions before the family gathers, you can get a good understanding about what to talk about and with whom.
2. Plan for emotional reactions from members the family. No matter how hard you try to create safety for everyone, the emotional overwhelm when everyone gathers is unavoidable.Make it okay to be emotional.
Preplanning for emotional breakdowns, helps you not be caught off-guard and when the tears flow.
Don't try to fix things -
Sometimes in the middle of the chaos, just sitting there and letting it all settle is the best thing we can do.
Just being with the emotional person is all they need in many cases.
You don't have to do anything, or take anything away.
Most of there time there is nothing that can be done or said, but we all need to be accepted and heard - especially at times of loss.
Finding solid ground and slowing the turbulence is on your terms and your time-line –
- as long as you are moving forward.
Why it is such a problem and why is grief so impacting when family gathers?
Because...Everyone is moving at their own pace.
AND THAT IS OKAY.
It is also okay if it feels like yo are lost or that you are not doing grief correctly. You see...
The popular notion of 5 Stages of Grief is flawed.
It has left many grieving. This is a real issue for your holiday festivities.
You see - there are no "stages".
The popularized notion of 5 distinct stages has left most lost and in more grief.
Grief does not flow in a steady and predictable course.
Family members will be dealing with the loss in a very different ways.
Individual progression through various and personal emotions is different for everyone.
CLICK IMAGE to see the Pathway Through Grief model that actually helps you grieve and find joy.
The resource I have created, Grieving Through The Holidays, will help you prepare yourself and the family for the gathering.
There is no rule, law, or theory that specifies that after 3 weeks, two months, or ??? amount of time you will be or "should be over it".
Sometimes the best "stage" of grief is the one where you sit and have a good cry, or the one where you scream and yell because that is what you feel inside.
My favorite “stage” is to drop the top on my car, turn up the music and drive while the wind seems to peel away the pain and loneliness.
Finding your perfect "stage" is one of the key ways to move through the Pathway of Grief.
Making sure your family has that opportunity is the perfect recipe for family gatherings.
Because everyone in the family will all be grieving differently, and all moving through their own Pathway...
The more you recognize the pathway, the better everyone will be at interacting with each other.
Too often I hear families say . . .
"We have no idea how to handle the holiday gatherings.
Some of the family seem to be numb, and others are so touchy that we can not say anything about the deceased."
Maybe you’ve had similar thoughts.
Like I said above, The myth and misconception of a clean and staged process of grieving is causing more grief then ever intended.
This idea of a smooth, fluid, step by stage process really has families (maybe yours) in an emotional and mental mess.
are common in families who are grieving.
The most unfortunate part of the whole thing, is that families do not need to be stuck at all, because...
Joy, Happiness, Hope, Healing, Transition, and Life with the loss are possible when you discover YOUR Pathway Through Grief and forget about stages or tasks.
(Below, I give you more hands on tools you can implement right now while you are waiting for your FREE resource packet Grieving Through The Holidays, to hit your inbox.)
When we gather together, it can be hard to manage every ones emotions and ability to cope.
It is so important to recognize the different path every one is on and what they are feeling.
Remember - there is no one way to grieve or timeline to follow.
The stages theory of grief and loss has many under the false idea that when you are done with one stage, you move on to the next, until you are one day – done.
This creates that feeling that someone might be grieving wrong or too slowly.
I wish that was true.
Grief and the grieving process is not so neat and orderly.
None of us will ever grieve in a nice straight line through smooth stages.
You are probably experiencing every "stage" at the same time.
We certainly do not do it like the pop culture portrayal would have you think.
And, you will never grieve exactly the same as someone else.
Happiness and Joy are possible after loss.
Gathering With Family After LossCan Still Include Joy and Celebration
How do you find relief?
First, ignore the "supposed to do" and stages, and grieve in your way.
Second, download the Grieving Through The Holidays resource,
"Brett - this is all great, but what can I do RIGHT NOW?"
- grieve on your terms,
- encourage you to progress along the grieving pathway,
- interact with others who have become or are becoming Loss Managers.
Looking over another person who is grieving can trigger and excite our own emotional abyss. Especially when it is family.
That is why it is so good you are getting involved here with people who understand this and can help you in your own way.
The fact that you are here, reading this and getting the support and resources that will assist you tells me that you are doing it right.
Grief is one of the most universal of all life experiences yet is likely the most misunderstood and problematic of all.
Not many are ever taught how to grieve and painfully many more are not allowed to grieve in a healthy manner.
Learning . . .
is a vital life skill.
Not only does this empower you to find joy, but it helps you help others around you as they navigate their own pathway.
Understanding what loss is, and what grieving is (and is not) is an important component to moving from denial to a well-managed Life With Loss.
This is way I am giving you the Grieving Through The Holidays and have created the Pathway Through Grief coaching program.
Below, you have a no-cost opportunity to start finding relief and joy after loss.
They are my gift to help you find the joy and happiness that is possible after loss.
I wish you all the best.
Meanwhile, I’ll see you the Facebook group to help you get off the bungee ride.
With deepest regards,