Reading through this edition of the Express, it is apparently a very busy month here in Moose Jaw. The Christmas season can be the most wonderful time of the year for many, but for others it’s a very lonely season to endure.
This week W.J. Jones & Son will be holding their Morning Star Christmas Service for anyone who carries loss or grief. On December 8th at 7:30 p.m., all are welcome to come to the chapel located at 474 Hochelaga St. for the 25th anniversary celebration. You can read more about the event in this edition.
A very good article, Living with Loss During the Holidays by Deb Del Vecchio-Scully said, “The deeper truth of loss is that we are never truly finished with grieving when someone significant to us dies. However, there are many ways to live with the loss without suffering from it. It is important to know the return of grief is a normal part of the healing process.”
She goes on to share some suggestions as to how to manage the reactions to anniversary grief during the holidays.
- “Use your support system and reach out to friends and loved ones to help you through. Be mindful of your support system during these times, and remain connected.
- “Change holiday gatherings to limit painful reminders. Gather for a breakfast meal instead of the traditional dinner and consider having another person host the holiday if you traditionally did so.
- “Consider volunteering for a charity activity as a way of honouring the lost loved one.
- “Reconnect with a counsellor or bereavement support group.
- “Be gentle toward yourself and handle your memories with care. You can choose which memories to focus on and decide to release particular memories if they create longing or hold you in the past in an unpleasant way.
- “Calm your pain by focusing [more on] happy memories shared with your loved one. Recalling happy memories can help ease the pain of the loss.
- “Create space to intentionally remember and grieve regularly. Use this time to consciously recall memories and set the memories aside. Some find it helpful to imagine a container for these memories, which can be opened and closed as needed.
- “Rituals and memorials are helpful for acknowledging the anniversary while also containing the emotional intensity of the event. Draw on your culture, family traditions, and religious or spiritual beliefs to guide you in the creation of a meaningful remembrance.”
“Although the winter holidays are a time to celebrate family, friends and community, there are also older adults who have no family, or few friends nearby, or are lonely and socially isolated,” says blogger Deborah Carr at https://blog.oup.com/2019/12/why-the-holidays-are-the-loneliest-time-for-seniors/
“Christmas season may sharpen the dull pains of loneliness, as older adults yearn for their loved ones who have died, or reminisce about happy celebrations in their family home that they have since abandoned for residence in a long-term care facility.”
I had someone emphatically tell me recently that seniors aren’t lonely. Well, that may be for some, but from someone who knows some seniors, too, including my 89-year-old pops, seniors do experience loneliness. Sometimes health-related issues can compound loneliness by keeping seniors from being socially active, as those who use walkers or wheelchairs making it more difficult to get out, especially during the Christmas season or winter months.
For those of us who care deeply for our seniors, reach out to them and be there for emotional support, especially now when emotions run high.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.