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Woman Remembering a Loved OneWhile it has been said that the first holiday season after a loved one passes is the biggest challenge a person faces, the period after can be just as hard to endure. The holidays typically mean that family and friends will be around. Though you might feel sad about the absence of the departed, you can turn to those who matter most to help you through. After the arrival of the new year, however, life returns back to normal and people go back to their responsibilities. This can leave you in a vulnerable or difficult position.

Using the first weeks or months of the year to look back and remember those you’ve lost can help to empower you during low moments. Consider these tips and see how you can make the most of your loss.

Have a Conversation

Talking to those you’ve lost is a helpful way to cope with death. Though they may no longer be physically present in your life, their influence can still be felt. Try sitting in a quiet, peaceful room and having a conversation with the departed the way you would if he or she were still around. It might feel awkward or silly at first, but easing into this will start to work up your emotions. You might feel like crying, shouting, laughing, or having any number of sudden outbursts. Allow yourself to feel whatever comes up.

Working through your grief in this way can prove useful for many. While it won’t erase your pain, the simple act can help you learn how to best move forward. Don’t ignore what you feel after you’ve finished. Any emotions that were stirred during this exercise should be addressed directly.

Conduct a Small Ritual

Plenty of people find solace in ritual. Whether annual traditions or special actions related to personal bonds, repetition can bring comfort to the soul. As a way of keeping the departed with you always, use the beginning of the new year to start a tradition honoring them. It doesn’t need to be anything as grand as a memorial ceremony, just a little action you can take to feel connected to those you’ve lost. Light a candle and say a prayer, eat the person’s favorite meal, listen to songs that remind you of better times, or find something more specific.

What’s important about this ritual is that it holds significance to the connection you shared with the deceased. If the person wasn’t particularly religious, saying a prayer may not feel as fulfilling as you’d like. Think about what makes sense and follow the impulse. Maybe your tradition will be watching a specific movie or tossing a penny into a fountain. Go with what feels right over what is “standard practice” for rituals of remembrance. 

Visit a Special Place

Certain places will always hold a special significance thanks to the memories you have of the deceased. If you’re looking for a way to remember the departed in a poignant way, consider visiting one of these locations. Perhaps you go to the neighborhood where you grew up to honor a parent or you revisit your old college campus after the death of a friend. Taking this type of excursion can help you reflect on where your bonds with this individual were forged or strengthened and allow you space to mourn.

Be Alone if It Helps

Remembering someone privately can be important, but only allow yourself to be alone if it helps. When pain or emotional weight gets to be too much to handle, reach out to those you can turn to for support. No one can get through loss completely alone.

Remembering those you have lost as the weeks and months of the new year unfold can often prove to be healing. Face your pain and honor your loved ones by finding a fitting way to keep their legacies alive.

Category: Loss

grief communication self care death

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