Thank you for your question and our sympathies to your loss.
We are also very sorry for the pain you are experiencing – however, we agree with Dr. Alan Wolfelt of the Center for Life & Loss Transition that grief is something you will never “get over”. The goal is the RECONCILIATION of your grief – which focuses your energy on learning to integrate the loss into your new reality as you move forward in your own life.
For more information on reconciliation by Dr. Wolfelt – please reference http://www.centerforloss.com/who-are-you/someone-i-love-has-died/
So, how to do you work into reconciliation?
First, you must find quiet time to sit with and acknowledge your feelings – whatever they are. This might include feelings of sadness, relief, abandonment, anger, etc. This process is one of the most difficult – as we typically are trying to both avoid these difficult emotions and to stay positive during such a joyful time over the holidays.
We also agree with Dr. Wolfelt that it can be very helpful to create appropriate rituals for a tangible experience to symbolize the loss. These might continue throughout the year – or might be a new holiday tradition to recognize their impact on your family and how they are missed.
Some ideas might include:
– Light a candle and sit in its warmth and light as you remember.
– Make a treasured recipe or meal and share with those that share in your loss.
– Set a place at the table for the loved one – to recognize their continued presence.
– Recognize the person’s favorite holiday tradition – might include the reading of a special passage or book, opening presents in a particular order, etc.
– Take an unhurried visit to their gravesite, childhood homesite, or a place they found special.
– Share stories, pictures, or experiences with those who also loved them. Also share things like what you loved most about them? What do you miss the most?
Wishing you peace, progress, and reconciliation in your grief process!