Staying Strong When You Miss Them the Most: Coping with Grief During the Holidays

copingwithloss , grieving , griefjourney , lifeafterloss

The Iron Empath

Photo by Eric Antunes on Pexels.com

The title is called “staying strong” but let me be clear. Staying strong does not mean harboring all emotion to get through Christmas dinner without crying. You don’t need to block out, hide from, or deny your grief. Many people wrongly equate “staying strong” with not breaking down in public, speaking emotionlessly or avoiding the topic of grief altogether. But I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to “stay strong” in this way.

Staying strong to me means continuing to be your most authentic self in the midst of loss. This means acknowledging the pain you feel is valid and a part of who you are now. It means if you need to cry at dinner, then that’s not called “breaking down.” That’s a perfectly acceptable testimony of your love for that person.

It’s been 5 years since my mom died and…

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Words that hurt

bereavement , death , grief , meaning , mourning , purpose , soulmates , widowed

richwalks

Words that hurt: happiness, joy.

Phrases that hurt: ‘Rich would want you to be happy’, ‘I hope you’re enjoying…’, ‘May you find peace’, ‘this will help you heal’, ‘try and find something to smile about today’.

Phrases that help: ‘tell me about Rich’, ‘don’t hold it in’, ‘just be you’, ‘you are hurting’, ‘I wish I’d known him’.

And the best way to ask after someone experiencing profound bereavement? – ‘how is today?’ If you ask ‘how are you?’, then frankly you’re not really thinking about the person in front of you or at the other end of the phone. How the f*** do you think I am? Is the way we want to respond. But instead, of late, I just don’t bother responding at all. Because if they can’t imagine what the devastation of loss like this might feel like, and I haven’t got the energy to explain, even…

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