Grieving During the Christmas Season

As we look towards our celebration of Christmas, many of our hearts are filled with warm memories and eager anticipation.  For persons who have experienced a loss of a loved one, this can be very difficult.  It is not uncommon to feel the pain of loss for several years after losing someone very close to us.
It is important to acknowledge that the holidays might never be the same as before.  Just knowing these times may create an emotional roller coaster can help in the preparation in dealing with anticipated emotions.  Be tolerant of your inability to function at optimal levels during the holiday season. Talk about your grief and your feelings to someone who will “listen” - it pays to figure out who those key people are in your life. Perhaps you might take an option during this holiday to change some traditions, or add some new ones.  Some may even find it helpful to do something very different on the first Christmas without their loved one.  You can always return to the old traditions next year.  Each person can explore options for activities, memorials or traditions that create an atmosphere open to remembering the loved one.  This is a very individual process.  There is no right or wrong way.

Some people go through a crisis of faith, feeling separation and even anger towards God. Do not shy away from seeking help to work through this time of desolation in your life. For others, their faith may provide the compassion and healing they are looking for. Christian faith offers tangible help that cannot be found elsewhere. Scripture can help heal grief. Let yourself cry out to God; note the strong emotions filling the books of Lamentations and Psalms. The lamentations of scripture may help you confront your pain and bring it before God, who responds with compassion. Might we also ponder and try to live the words of Job, who spoke from the depth of his misery, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and in the end He will stand upon the earth.  After my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God” (Job 19:25-26).  The Bible also remind us that even Jesus cried at the death of His dear friend Lazarus (John 11:35). We must not think of tears as a sign of weakness, but rather strength. Take a lesson from Jesus; let the tears flow and be a testament of your love.

Peace and health in Christ,   Marcia L. Isherwood, RN, BSN    
Aurora Parish Nurse in Partnership with St. John Lutheran/Cudahy   
Ofc: M-W-F 414-288-5288   Ofc: Tu-Th 414-481-0520