Getting through the holidays while Grieving – Chandler Swope

First, let’s talk about grief.  Grief is a complicated emotion that can occur after you lose someone, but also with any major life changes.  When we talk about HD, there are many instances when grief may occur:

  • When losing a loved one
  • Your own diagnosis or family members
  • Changes in the home (parent unable to do tasks, changes in activities due to illness)
  • Moving a loved one to a care home
  • Changes in traditions due to changes in family

The holidays often bring up a lot of complicated feelings or exacerbates feelings we are already having.  Know that you are a not alone, change is hard and, although it can be tough, try to appreciate the moments of joy when they occur.

There is no one way to navigate the holiday’s, but here are some tips:

  • Allow yourself to be sad.
    • The holidays tend to force happiness and joy down our throats, but it is okay to sit with our grief
  • Honor old traditions and create new ones
    • Changing of traditions can be hard on everyone, but it is okay to work to honor the old ones while creating new ones
  • Say a prayer or memory before a big holiday meal for your lived one
    • These can help you feel connected to your loved one even if they can’t be at the table with you
  • Ask for help
    • Reach out for support, a shoulder to lean on or someone to listen. You don’t have to do this alone!
  • Remember it is okay to be happy
    • Life if full of many events that cause pain and sadness, but it is okay to find happiness and enjoy it. Even if a change or loss is recent, it is okay to focus on the things that bring you joy

As we move through this holiday season remember that grief is normal, and it is always heightened around these times.  It is okay to deal with grief in your own way and reach out for help if you need it.