Managing Grief During the Holiday Season

Angel looking down

The holiday season is a time of celebration and joy with friends and family. For those who are coping with the loss of a loved one, it can be a painful experience, as memories arise of times past when loved ones were there, bringing sadness for the loss of their physical presence on Earth. There are wistful thoughts of how a loved one in spirit would have enjoyed a particular activity or laughed at the antics of our relatives or friends. It is a bittersweet time of sadness when the world around us is partaking in traditions designed to bring people together and celebrate the love we share with one another. For those who are grieving, it can feel as though there is a giant hole in our hearts as we keenly miss the presence of those who have crossed over into Heaven.

The First Year is the Hardest

When my father crossed over into Heaven several years ago, the first year was the hardest. Each milestone event, birthday, holiday, and family celebration brought a reminder of his passing. My heart would ache with the loss, even though I knew he was watching over me and my family from Heaven. He had passed in the month of September, which meant the holidays were right around the corner. I was not in the mood to celebrate, let alone drag out all of the decorations for the house and my Christmas tree. It was around that time I had received wonderful advice which helped me not only get through the holidays, but also ease the pain in my heart. The advice was to try to maintain my holiday traditions as much as possible and to create new ones in honor of my father. At the same time, if I felt the need to pull back from some of the other holiday celebrations, such as ones with friends or coworkers, it would be okay to do so if I did not feel up to it. Being alone on the big holidays was not a good idea, such as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, because it would only lead to greater sadness.

Taking Time Out When Needed, But Keeping Traditions

That first year I did decline many of the holiday invitations I received from people outside of my family. My friends certainly understood my need for some quiet time away from the crowds. Instead, I read books and worked on art projects as a way of giving myself time to rest. I did decorate my house and my Christmas tree. Even though tears streamed down my face as memories of Christmases past brought the pain of the loss of my dad to the surface, I still pushed on and was very glad I did. The sadness would have been worse for me if I had not stuck to my traditions. The holiday season brings such joy and light to my household that the lack of any decorations would have magnified my grief.

Navigating the Holidays

My biggest dilemma was Christmas Eve. Several years before my dad passed, my parents divorced. Christmas Eve was the holiday I spent with my dad and Christmas Day I spent with my mom. Each year, my sister and I would go to my dad’s house on Christmas Eve where he would cook dinner and we would watch my dad’s favorite Christmas movie, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” My dad had a great sense of humor, and still does in spirit. He really loved that movie because it made him laugh, and when I say laugh, I mean body shaking with tears-in-the-eyes guffaw. It did not matter how many times he watched it, it would always crack him up as if he was watching it for the first time.

As my dad proudly chopped and prepped his special Christmas feast in the kitchen, he kept an eye on the movie and would start laughing right before his favorite lines would come up. It was great to enjoy this time with him. His infectious laughter and quoting of his favorite lines made my sister and I laugh even more. After dinner, we would finish watching the movie and open our presents together. On our way home, my sister and I would turn up the radio and sing Christmas carols at the top of our lungs. Laughter and songs filled the car as we marveled at the beautiful light displays on our ride home.

Creating New Traditions

The year my dad passed, my sister and I promised ourselves we would watch “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” every Christmas Eve. I know he watches along with us from Heaven, still laughing and quoting his favorite lines. In addition keeping that tradition, we decided to attend my aunt’s Christmas Eve party that she holds every year for my mom’s side of the family. At first, my sister did not want to go. I urged her to go, as I did not think it would be a good idea for either one of us to sit at home alone with the pain of missing our father wrapping itself around our hearts. Both of us did attend the Christmas Eve event and found ourselves surrounded by loving and understanding family who hugged us, shared fond memories they had with our dad,and welcomed us into the fold of this new holiday tradition for my sister and me.

Healing of the Heart and Spirit

The ensuing years have brought healing to our hearts. We know he is with us in spirit, not just during the holidays, but every day. Your loved ones in spirit are there for you, too. They hear you when you think of them and when you speak of them, they read the notes you write to them, and they watch over you and your family and friends from Heaven.  

Honor Yourself and Your Loved Ones in Spirit

Even though the pain of losing a loved one can be overwhelming during the holidays, it is good to give yourself a break when needed and to maintain traditions when you can. Creating new ones that honor your loved ones in spirit is a magnificent way to keep them close in your heart with fond memories of good times spent with one another and the love you share. From Heaven, our loved ones in spirit share the holidays with us. They watch over us as guardian angels and love it when we recognize their presence in our lives through the signs they send.

Our Spirits Entwined

In honor of all of your loved ones in spirit, I wrote this poem. May it bring you comfort and love this holiday season:

Our Spirits Entwined
By Karen T. Hluchan, Spirit Medium

As holiday preparations get underway,
I walk beside you in spirit each night and each day.
Your pain, sadness, joy, laughter, and tears,
Are felt within my spirit with each passing year.
I know your heart better than mine,
As we will always be connected, our spirits entwined.
The view from above is glorious and grand,
I reach out from Heaven to gently clasp your hand.
It will be okay, I am alright,
I am here with you now, sharing my love with all of my might.
I send you signs to let you know I am near,
Through feelings and images, words whispered in your ear.
The songs you hear that remind you of me,
Play for a purpose in all that will be.
Our love did not end on the day that I died,
It continues from Heaven, so strong are the ties.
We are never truly parted, God does have a plan,
To bring blessings to you and our entire clan.
Uplift your heart when I am near,
And share beautiful memories, so close and so dear.
When I appear in your dreams, please know it is me,
I am there to help out, to help you to see.
Your thoughts I can hear when they turn toward our life,
You are my everything, my heart without strife.
Do not be sad, as forever we will be,
Joined in our hearts, you and me.
I am your guardian angel, so true and so near,
I watch over your life and all that is dear.
Thank you for your love and all that we share,
I am here for you, my love, I need you, I care.
I am not far away, just a thought is all that is needed,
To have me by your side, your call is heeded.
Be gentle with your heart, and know I am there,
For now and forever, our souls will always be paired.

With Love and Light,
Karen T. Hluchan

Spirit Medium, Motivational Speaker, Reiki Master, Spiritual Artist, & Author of How Have You Loved?

www.HealingSpiritWithLove.com

Karen T. Hluchan is a spirit medium, motivational speaker, Reiki master, spiritual artist, and author of How Have You Loved?Through her mediumship practice, Healing Spirit with Love, she devotes her time to the healing of spirit on earth through her connection with heaven. Her passion for her calling is shared through spirit medium readings and angel readings, speaking engagements, and workshops she instructs, as well as through her writing, Reiki, and fine art spiritual paintings. All of her work is inspired by the divine light that is within us all. She has a great love of nature, people, and the planet, and she enjoys her connection in spirit, both here and in heaven.

Click here to learn more about Karen’s upcoming events or click here to learn more about Karen’s Workshops.