Q&A: Celebrating the festive season without my mum

Q: My mother recently passed away, and the reality that we’re celebrating the festive season without her has been more difficult than I could’ve imagined. How can I get through this?

A: Our heart goes out to you. As you’re experiencing, the festive season and other holidays can amplify the pain that comes with losing a loved one. For those of us struggling with heartache, here are some thoughts for getting through this holiday season a bit easier. 

First, allow yourself to be comfortable with the idea that emotions will run high.  It’s healthy and perfectly acceptable for a family to cry together. Instead of stuffing your grief or pretending everything is fine, it’s usually helpful to acknowledge your pain.

But it’s also important to be okay with celebrating the holiday. Some people may struggle with guilt if happiness or laughter pops up in the midst of their grief. Give yourselves permission to experience whatever emotions arise.

Another idea is to scale back. When you’re grieving, holiday gatherings can be emotionally draining. Observing a few traditions can help the family maintain some stability, but help each other be realistic about what everyone needs and feels up for.

Finally, the festive season can create opportunities to bless others in need. Consider reaching out to another family or giving to a charity in your loved one’s name. Blessing others can often bring joy even in the midst of grief.

When your heart is aching, life can feel pretty dark. For anyone who finds themselves in a hard or painful place during the festive season, we invite you to call our Family Support Services at 03-7954 7920 or write to support@family.org.my.

​​© 2018 Focus on the Family.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

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