We know that many of RICE’s supporters have lost a loved one this year, so we wanted to post a few ideas about coping with grief at Christmas.
Put yourself first
If you want to cover your house in decorations and go full-on Christmas, that’s fine. If you don’t want a hint of glitter or tinsel and want to ignore the season entirely whenever possible, that’s fine too. Christmas is a time for kindness, so the main thing that you should try and remember is to be kind to yourself, whatever that entails. Being honest with family and friends is crucial, and explaining what you feel comfortable with at this time of year.
You may not feel like you want to celebrate on the day at all; sometimes taking yourself out of the situation is the best thing you can do. That said, participating and laughing and smiling are also fine – it’s okay to feel happy when you’re bereaved.
Find some structure
Try and stick to some sort of routine over the festive season, if possible. It’s all too easy without our normal patterns to guide us to forget to look after ourselves. Whether it’s walking their dog at the same time each day, calling a relative each evening or reading another chapter of a book, some sort of structure and sense of routine can be helpful.
Allow yourself to grieve
You shouldn’t feel that you have to hide your grief over the festive season and pretend that everything is okay. Reaching out to someone and talking about the person you’ve lost can be helpful, be that family or friends who can share memories of that person, or connecting with a counsellor. Sharing your feelings may help you cope, and make the season a little more bearable.
Celebrate their life
You may want to start some new traditions to remember your loved one, or incorporate the person that has died into the traditions you already have, as a special way to remember them.
You might want to continue to hang their stocking in their honour, or create a ‘memory box’ to put out, with special items that remind you of that person. If you have a MuchLoved tribute page, you can add a beautiful virtual gift like a card or a teddy, or even light a virtual candle on your page. To create a tribute page you can go to the ‘support us’ page on the RICE website.
You might decide to have a Christmas wreath at home, or even a small tree with special decorations that celebrate the life of the person you’ve lost. Some people still lay a place at the table to remember their loved ones, or you could cook their favourite festive meal in their honour, or light a candle in their memory. The important thing is it should work for you.
Thank you to all our supporters who have chosen to give to RICE this year or others, whether in memory of a loved one or as a means of supporting people with dementia, Parkinson’s and other conditions of older age. We hope you have a lovely Christmas, however you choose to celebrate.