If you’ve ever lost a loved one, you know that grief can come in cycles. Certain events - your loved one’s birthday; an anniversary; a favorite holiday; a certain time of the year - can be all it takes to unleash a huge wave of grief.
You can’t always stop this wave from coming; if you know that certain seasons are hard on you, though, you can prepare yourself to cope.
One suggestion is to lean into your memories; rather than trying to suppress them, actively seek to honor and share them. For example, if your family is having a big holiday gathering, make your deceased loved one’s favorite dish for everyone to share, and invite loved ones to voice favorite memories.
Be proactive in taking care of yourself, physically and emotionally. Take some time to get outside and walk each day. Sunlight and fresh air can be good mood boosters. And, be sure to eat and sleep properly.
Express your feelings of intensified grief, even if it’s just by writing them down in a journal.
More than anything, avoid isolating yourself. Seek out the close friends and loved ones in whom you can confide. Don’t shy away from family gatherings, even if you know they will bring some sadness. Try to stay close to the people you love, and the people you know will support and encourage you.
Finally, consider creating some kind of a memory box or memento with which you can honor your lost loved one - remembering their life and legacy even in a busy time of the year.
Grief can be very cyclical, and some dates on the calendar may fill you with apprehension - but with these steps, you can meet that apprehension head-on.