Christmas 2015

This can be such a hard time of year for many people.  Everywhere we go we are bombarded with images of happy, healthy families celebrating together and for many reasons our lives may not feel like that. This is particularly true if we have been bereaved.  The absence of the person who has died is so palpable that it can be hard to get any pleasure from what is around us.  One way to make this less unbearable can be to really ask yourself what you need this festive season. It may be company, it may be time to be alone, it may be time with just a few handpicked people with whom you feel comfortable to be yourself, sad or happy or a mixture of the two.  Try not to be forced into doing things you cannot bear the thought of.  And of course, if you are caring for children it is not quite so easy to follow your own needs in this way.  I believe it also healing to actually remember the person who has died, have a photograph up, maybe light a candle specially for them, share stories about them.  By allowing that conversation into the room we can feel the person is still part of our lives, part of what is happening and then perhaps feel a little less isolated.


As time goes by and you learn to live with your loss in a different way you may find yourself occasionally really happy and able to enjoy yourself again.   This may just suddenly happen unexpectedly and you can find yourself feeling guilty about it.   Remember, the person who loved you will want you to live fully and happily and you are not letting them down or dishonouring their memory when you participate in life once more.


I love what Joyce Grenfell wrote in her pithy little poem If I Should Go.


If I should go before the rest of you

Break not a flower nor inscribe a stone

Nor when I’m gone speak in a Sunday voice

But be the usual selves that I have known

Weep if you must

Parting is hell

But life goes on

So sing as well.