Christmas holidays can trigger grief

Clarion Herald Staff

For anyone who has lost a loved one, the holiday season can be especially bittersweet.  The New Orleans Catholic Cemeteries Office shares the following five tips for coping with loss during the holiday season:

  • Change your holiday activities. Consider activities that can take your mind off things like a day trip to a place you’ve never been or even volunteering at a shelter around Christmas Eve.
  • Allow yourself to go through the emotions. You are likely to feel a range of emotions every day, even the same emotions over again. Do not set yourself a time to be OK. Allow yourself to feel and talk about what you feel. Perhaps leave family gatherings early or take a break from the crowd whenever you need.
  • Honor your loved one. Do what feels right for you to honor the person and feel that you are still including them in your new tradition, even if they are gone. Consider hanging an ornament on our “In Memory Christmas Tree” in St. Patrick Cemetery No. 3, 143 City Park Ave., New Orleans, beginning on Friday, Dec. 1.
  • Stay off social media. Even for a person who is not grieving, social media has become a challenging place to live an authentic, whole life. It does not represent the whole human experience and often leads us to think others have a “more perfect” life. The truth is there is no such thing. But all of our lives include moments that feel perfect and moments that don’t. As you settle into a different pace of life, you may feel worse being on social media; consider avoiding it for as long as you need to focus on your life.
  • Find support. You may not know how to sort through your feelings at first or maybe it has been awhile and you are having trouble coping. Seek counseling to make it easier. Professionals can offer strategies, but oftentimes, being able to talk about your feelings as much as you need to is help in itself. Our web page on bereavement is here: https://nolacatholiccemeteries.org/bereavement-ministry

Beginning Dec. 1, the public is invited to decorate the “In Memory Christmas Tree” in St. Patrick Cemetery No. 3. This tree serves as a way to honor lost loved ones. Complimentary ornaments will be given to the families of those buried in the New Orleans Catholic Cemeteries.

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