Question of the Week: Remembering Loved Ones at Christmas
22nd December 2016 / 6 comments
Once a week, we answer a question submitted from one of our community members about something they are struggling with. The question could be about love, career, family, spirituality or just everyday life. This week we heard from Angela, who is struggling with grief for a loved one as it nears Christmas.
Q – We lost my lovely mum earlier this year, and it’s been really hard to cope with. Just as we started to come to terms with it, we are now facing our first Christmas without her. She lived with me and my family for the last couple of years, so her absence is very obvious. My children were very close to their gran and so they’re very upset, and I don’t know how to console them because I feel the same way. Is there any way we can honour and remember her this Christmas that won’t be too upsetting for everybody? Thanks, Angela.
A – Hi Angela. I just want to say first of all that I am very sorry for you loss, and thank you for having the strength to reach out. Many people will be facing the same absence of loved ones this year, and like you, they are probably unsure of how to deal with it. Here are a few ways I can think of to honour your mum over Christmas.
Share happy memories
I know it’s hard to talk about our loved ones after they’ve passed; it’s painful to think of them and remember what you’ve lost. However, though they are now gone, we can be grateful that they were here and we knew them when we had the chance.
Noticing your lost loved one’s absence over Christmas will be difficult enough without trying to force yourself not to think about them. Instead, try to embrace the memories and be happy that they happened.
One suggestion is to spend a little time to sit as a family and talk about all of the happy memories you have of your mum. Go around and give everybody a chance to talk; this will help your children understand that it’s perfectly OK to talk about their gran and will help them process the emotions they will feel in a healthy way.
Include her in the decorations
Though your mum is no longer there in body, she is still with you all in spirit, so why not represent her place in your hearts.
A lovely way to do this is to print off some pictures of each family member with your mum, put them into a bauble, and hang them from the tree. This will be especially nice for your children, as they will feel like their gran is watching over them.
Alternatively, frame a photo of you all and put it pride of place. Or, why not decorate your Christmas tree with your mum’s favourite colours, or her treasured ornaments? Just having her represented will help you all feel like she is with you and will give you comfort as you enjoy your day.
Do something she’d enjoy
A special way to honour your mum would be to do something she’d enjoy. Was your mum a cook, or did she have green fingers and love to garden? Why not include her favourite dish in your Christmas feast, or plant something in her honour and watch it bloom?
It could be something simple as listening to her favourite song, or watching her favourite Christmas film. You could make this activity a new family tradition, and it is a nice way to keep her memory alive.
Donate to a charity she supported
Another way to honour your mum and to make her proud is to donate money to a charity she was passionate about. Make the donation in her memory, and know that even though she is gone, her beliefs and passions still live on.
Another way to do this is to buy a gift with your mum in mind, and give it to somebody less fortunate. Perhaps take part in a gift giving programme, such as a shoebox appeal, and have everybody contribute something in her honour.