Here at Pappano and Breslin we are interested in helping our clients with their legal needs, of course. But we know that each of our clients is so much more than just their legal needs and our desire is to help provide information to help care for the whole person. As such, we will provide additional support by posting articles and other resources that our clients may find useful.
With the holiday season upon us, many will gather with their family and loved ones to celebrate. However, in the midst of the celebration, we often forget that many are grieving and not all feel like joining the festivities. Some have lost loved ones, others have lost jobs, and still others have lost abilities (physical and cognitive). If you are someone who is grieving, we are sorry. We may not have lost the same thing you have, but we know what it is like to grieve and we are here to tell you that it is ok to feel these feelings. It is ok to miss the thing you have lost and think about how this season could be different. But it is also ok to feel the joy and happiness of being around loved ones at this time of year. It does not mean you’ve forgotten the thing you’ve lost or taken it for granted. Accepting that this holiday season will be different and will be tough is an important first step. Moving forward often means accepting where you are in that moment without judgment. So for you this season, be where you are. Take notice of what is happening around you. Engage your senses. It is not right or wrong, it’s just where you are. One word of caution: watch the food and alcohol. They can make us feel better in the moment but pack a punch later. Use these in moderation.
For those of you who are trying to help loved ones who are grieving, there are several practical things you can do. First, remember that not everyone will grieve in the same way and that’s ok. There is no right way to grieve. Being present with your loved one and allowing them to feel their feelings is an important step. You don’t have to fix this situation, simply be present. Listen. Give them the freedom to be where they are. It’s ok if they want to skip the holiday event, or leave early. It is not personal. It’s ok if they cry. It’s not personal. It’s ok if they want to skip gifts this year. It’s not personal. They will appreciate knowing that you are there for them regardless of where they are in their grief.
Second, take time this season to remember that which was lost. For some, this will mean reminiscing and this can take many forms including story telling or creating a memory box for people to place favorite memories. For others, simply lighting a candle in remembrance is preferred. Discussing this with your loved one in advance may be helpful in understanding how you can best support them. Creating new traditions or adapting old ones can be an important way of remembering.
This article was contributed by Kathleen A. Breslin, Psy.D
Brandywine Neuropsychology Associates (484-841-6725)
While not a member of the law firm, she certainly has strong family ties