At Heritage Gardens, we assist families during some of their most difficult times. We are a family run cemetery located in Surrey, BC. For many families, the holiday season can mean missing our loved ones more as we plan dinners and decorate our homes. Although the pain of losing someone never completely goes away some things can be done to sooth the grieving and celebrate the joy and love of the people you miss.
Find ways to honour your loved one.
You can still include a family member in holiday traditions after they have passed on. This can be done by placing a commemorative decoration in your home, lighting a candle, creating a memory box, or having a moment of silence for your loved one. Think about what was your loved one’s favourite part of the holiday season and find a way to include them. Such as bringing their picture with your when you attend and activity or have a family meal.
It may be easier to let a few family members know what new tradition you are starting so they can support you in the moment and let others know on your behalf. Choose whatever feels best for you and know that you can make this choice in the moment and as you need.
Set boundaries and ask for help when you need it.
After the loss of you loved one and the funeral is complete it is completly alright if you need more time to adjust to your new normal. If you have always hosted a family dinner or been in charge of the decorations it’s okay to ask others to help take on these tasks. You’re likely to going to be feeling a different range of emotions this year and you can decide what boundaries you need.
If you don’t feel comfortable attending a work party or going gift shopping you can decline invitations and ask others to help you. Although you may not feel like seeing other people, love and support from your family can often help and it will likely bring small moments of joy and happiness. You don’t need to do more than you are ready to, ask for space and support that you need and remember that self-care is more important than pleasing others. You may even find yourself questioning whether you have the strength to attend a funeral or burial. You can always choose to visit the cemetery at a later date when you are ready. Your loved ones want to be there for you and you’re allowed to tell them how to best support you.
Seek and share gratitude as you can.
Gratitude can be a great step to healing and lifting spirits. There are many ways this can be done, especially during the holidays. Writing down daily gratitudes during the holidays can help during this time. It can be simple gratitudes such as things you are looking forward to, a meal that you enjoy, taking time to reflect on happy memories or anything that makes your smile. If you feel like you would like to share some of your gratitude you could do this by donating to a charity in your loved one’s name, inviting someone to a holiday dinner when you know they’ll be alone, or adopting a family at Christmas and helping make their holidays brighter.
Visit your loved one at the cemetery.
When you’re missing someone it can be healing to spend time visiting them in a place that marks their life here on earth. That is why so many families choose to work with a cemetery or funeral home to select the perfect place for their loved ones. For the holidays, you could start a new tradition of visiting your loved one at the cemetery with your family. The family can tell them all about the fun they’re having this holiday season and what dinners and activities you have planned. Although visiting their resting place may make you miss your loved one you will be also making new loving memories with your family.
Give yourself a break.
There is no right way to grieve or right way to be when you have lost a loved one. Take your time to find what feels right for you and remember that healing isn’t a linear process. Allow yourself to take all the time you need to rest, reflect, and decide what you would like to do. Your healing and happiness doesn’t need to be put on hold because it is the holiday season. Self-care is different for every person and you deserve to take the time to find what works for you.
We hope that these ideas of how to soothe your grieving during the holidays. We wish you and your family a happy holiday season. If you are grieving this holiday season, you are not alone. The Heritage Gardens family is here to support all families of Surrey and the lower mainland. If you would like to learn more about how to heal and support that is available to you contact the BC Bereavement Helpline, you can contact them at https://www.bcbh.ca/ Or contact us at Heritage Gardens for information about more resources.