THE BLOG
12/21/2017 12:15 EST | Updated 12/21/2017 12:24 EST

How To Find New Joy In The Holidays When They Remind You Of A Lost Loved One

It's important to remind yourself that intense grief is temporary, and it shouldn't stop you from redefining the meaning of joy this holiday season.

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We're in full swing of the holidays now. With the constant reminders on TV and the radio, as well as in stores, we can be overwhelmed with memories of loved ones who have passed recently.

Regardless of your religious or cultural beliefs, a time that is usually filled with joy can become difficult to navigate if it reminds you of losing a loved one. A holiday memory that used to make you smile can cause grief to surface with great intensity and might make you want to withdraw from everyone.

It's important to remind yourself that intense grief is temporary, and it shouldn't stop you from redefining the meaning of joy this holiday season.

Although traditions may change, you are now creating new memories filled with love.

Celebrating old traditions with new life

For those grieving, celebrating the holidays can be emotionally and physically straining especially when you become overwhelmed with memories of a special person that is no longer a part of your holiday traditions. New traditions can be particularly helpful during the holiday season, as the creation of something new often brings about feelings of hope and joy.

If you and your loved one had always put up the Christmas tree together, try inviting your friends and family over to help you out and celebrate the special occasion. What once used to be a special moment shared between two people, is now a new tradition amongst family and friends.

Although traditions may change, you are now creating new memories filled with love.

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Revisiting plans with new meaning

You may also find solace by seeing through a plan or by treating yourself to something special that you and your loved one had talked about. Many of us look forward to favourite holiday activities like going skating on the Rideau Canal or a special holiday meal. Whatever that activity is, continue to enjoy your plans with new meaning.

Take personal inventory of your own hopes and dreams that you shared and planned and put them into action. For example, if you had discussed ringing in the new year in Whistler, B.C., celebrate your wishes and dreams by taking the trip with close friends or family.

Those plans you once made together are still yours to fulfill.

You may surprise yourself and find comfort when you feel their presence in your life.

Connecting with loved ones through everyday tasks

Many people have spoken to me about feeling the presence of their loved ones when embarking on a journey of rediscovery through everyday tasks that you used to take on together.

Get inspired to learn more about what your loved one used to enjoy doing in their spare time or around the house during the holidays. This can be something simple as making your favourite cookies or listening to their favourite holiday classics when hosting a dinner. These subtle hints of your loved one will continue to hold a special place in your heart.

You may surprise yourself and find comfort when you feel their presence in your life.

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Finding your healing process

It's important to recognize that everyone has a different healing process, and you need to find a way to honour your own pain.

If you or someone you know is dealing with grief, make sure to be honest and direct with your loved ones in what you do or don't want to. Do what you can; only you know what you are capable of and "showing up" is often enough if you're having a difficult time.

Learn to accept your emotions as they come rather than deflecting them or distracting yourself from taking them on. The more you prolong accepting a situation and your emotions, the more you delay the beginning of your healing process.

Just remember, you're never truly alone and your family friends and support groups are great resources to turn to.

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