How Holiday Memories Can Bring Healing

 In Mental Health & Wellbeing

The joy of Christmas and grieving don’t seem to fit together.  Or do they?  The reality is that when you have lost a loved one, grieving becomes an inseparable part of your holiday experience.  Whether this is the first year or any subsequent year you face without your loved one, Christmas has been changed forever by your loved one’s passing.  But the beautiful fact is that within Christmas itself lies a powerful way for you to move through your grief. Here are some suggestions for using your memories to heal your grief:

–  Accept the memories as they come. If the loss is recent, there will be pain beneath the surface either way. Allow yourself to sense how your loved one remains a part of you by cherishing his or her continuing presence in your heart.

–  Share your memories with others and listen to theirs, through photos, videos and storytelling. Sharing tears and laughter helps us honor our loved ones most endearing qualities.

–  Remember your loved one by maintaining your holiday traditions, remembering your loved one as you share them together.

–  Find consolation and wisdom in the meaning of Christmas which provides eloquent and powerful symbols for those who are grieving. While grief can feel as if winter has overtaken your soul, the deeper significance of Christmas can give consolation and wisdom to your spirit. Let its message of love fill your heart and reveal to you what matters most.

Memories point us forward as well as back. Let your remembrances give you hope that someday you will move through your grieving and know joy once more.  Be comforted by the seasonal message of gratitude and the Christmas story of life and grace and know that your loved one’s spirit endures forever.

For pastoral support and bereavement ministry information, contact Leah Harris, Director of Pastoral Care at 408-997-5110.

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