How Do You Remember Your Loved Ones at Christmas Time?
How do you remember your loved ones at Christmas time? This time of year can be so hard for so many people, particularly if their loved one enjoyed celebrating Christmas.
It almost feels a betrayal to celebrate and enjoy yourself, but I am absolutely sure that we would all wish our loved ones to do so if the roles were reversed.
Embracing the season, and continuing traditions and celebrations, can be a wonderful way to remember a loved one. It is also helpful to have some normality in your life, and to do the things that you have always done. Of course there will be someone missing, and the first time you do anything without them is always going to be difficult, but taking those tentative steps can help you enormously.
Some people choose to do something entirely different. They just don’t feel that carrying on those traditions will be the same, so they do things completely differently, or just make a few changes.
Whatever you do has to be right for you. There is no right or wrong way of doing things, and you may start out with one plan and then change as you go along if you find it difficult to cope. The choice absolutely has to be yours.
There are lots of ways to actively remember your loved one. Lots of Funeral Directors arrange a memorial service, and invite all the families who have said goodbye to a loved one during the last year. These are lovely services (often followed by some refreshments), where you can spend some time away from the hurly burly of preparations and focus on your memories. It is often helpful to meet with others who are going through the same emotions too.
Some families choose to lay a place at the table for their loved one, so that they are remembered during the meal. Others choose to light a candle. I have a large lantern in my garden and always light a candle in memory of all those we have loved and said goodbye too. I use a big pillar candle and, as long as it isn’t too wet or windy, it can burn for two or three days. I love to see the flame flickering, and pause for a moment or two to allow the memories to flood back in.
Having children around at this time of year can help to make it easier; their excitement and wonder is hard to ignore. Although this can equally be a struggle, as you are reminded that you can no longer share this joy with your loved one.
Ultimately this time of year is often the hardest to bear. Try to remember this when you are with family or friends who have had to say goodbye to someone they love this year, or even in previous years (grief has no time limit). Be there to support them and show them understanding and love, but never be afraid to talk about the person they are grieving for. Sharing memories and talking is one of the best gifts that you can give them.
I sincerely hope that this season is filled with happiness, and that all those who are grieving find a way to celebrate that works for them.