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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

Dealing With Loss this Holiday Season

Dec 04, 2013 01:37AM

Thanksgiving has now passed, and we all are in the midst of a busy holiday season. For some, this is an exciting time spent with family, friends and loved ones. We are able to reminisce, as well as make new memories. For others, especially those that have experienced loss, this is a trying time. Where the focus in previous years might have been on festivities, their thoughts are on the past, and the uncertainty of experiencing a holiday without those they love.

Loss is difficult regardless of the time of year. It is also relative to those involved. May it be a departed grandparent, a twin, a sibling, a friend or even a pet; grief and loss can be felt at our inner core and we all experience it differently. This also brings to the fact that loss is more than just death to the forefront. Loss is experienced when we end a marriage, move to a different location, change jobs or become physically limited. Contrary to some opinions, loss doesn’t have a time limit. One year we might be functioning at all cylinders, where another we don’t want to get out of bed. This can be a challenge because those still reeling from their loss aren’t sure how to proceed or necessarily capable. Likewise, those close to them might be unaware of the situation or emotionally or physically unavailable to help.

Difficult as it may be, those who are left behind need only take one day at a time during this holiday season. There is no need to throw yourself into the routines of the past, unless you feel comfortable and at a place to do so. Even if you do elect to make your holiday cookies, it is okay if you get overwhelmed during the process and need to stop. There is no changing overnight, for with loss, we are forced to redefine who we are, and that is not an easy task. If you want to do something entirely new, you are honored to do so because the focus is on moving forward.

I remember the first Christmas after my twin passed and how difficult it was, even with family in the area to celebrate the season. It wasn’t difficult because of the people present, but knowing that he was not. What helped at that time was remembering the love and devotion we had for each other. For those who have lost loved ones, the focus should be on love and remembering that common bond. There is no better time of year to remember giving, devotion and love. Regardless of the circumstances of our loss, love unites us in life and in death.

The following weeks will be difficult for some, so remember to be present and aware that you aren’t alone this holiday season. There might be little desire to engage in the normal holiday cheer, and that is acceptable. Do what makes you comfortable, and remember you are never alone. The love of the departed is with you always.

Jonathan Kuiper is a local writer and author of Running with Vince and Our Place by the Sea. You can connect with his work by visiting


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