Whether it has been a couple of weeks or several years after a death, "little" holidays, such as the Fourth of July, can be sneaky with grief triggers. Listening to friends talk about enjoying time with family may leave you feeling isolated or lonely. Watching fireworks may spark emotional memories of past celebrations. Feelings of guilt can become overwhelming when you catch yourself having a good time.
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are experiencing grief this weekend or any other important day. If you have a grieving child in your life, ask for their opinion and value the answer. Allow them to help make plans and give them choices whenever possible.
- Allow yourself to grieve - in your own way. You may want to be around others, you may want to stay home. Old traditions can be difficult for some, while for others may bring comfort. Do what feels best for you.
- It's okay to enjoy the holidays. Grieving people, especially children, may feel a mixture of negative and positive feelings. Talk about how these feelings can coexist. You can miss your person AND still enjoy the holidays.
- Share your grief. Talk about how you are feeling and share memories of your person if you wish. It may also be helpful to set boundaries and share your holiday plans with others.
- Be kind to yourself. Knowing your "good triggers" is important too! Do something that you enjoy or find relaxing - or do nothing at all!
- Find an opportunity to honor and remember your person. Listen to their favorite music. Watch their favorite movie. Cook their favorite meal. Do something they loved to do. Journal a favorite memory.
However you decide to celebrate, may you find moments of peace, healing, and joy in the midst of any holiday.