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Holidays and Holding Two Feelings — Grief and Gratitude

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“There are moments which mark your life. Moments when you realize nothing will ever be the same and time is divided into two parts, before this, and after this.” — N. Kazan

There are indeed events that divide your life into “before and after.” And holidays often make you realize the significance of the event you’ve experienced. If you’re grieving, holidays — including time around the holiday dinner table — can become acute reminders of who is missing. That awareness can be overwhelming.

Starry sky

Have there been times when you were invited to a dinner, and thought it would be too difficult to attend, then on the way home, you realized it wasn’t as horrible as you anticipated? That was the beginning of a New Normal.

During the holidays, a new normal may include letting those around you know it’s okay to acknowledge who is missing.

A new normal may be the beginning of a new tradition of passing down stories from generation to generation. During the holidays grieving may be heightened with memories. Acknowledging how grateful everyone at the table is for the memories, while also acknowledging the sadness of the missing, is part of the new normal.

A new normal may include calling another HOPE group member before or after a holiday event. Talking with someone who is also grieving may help you both. You may discover that it is possible to be both grateful and sad at the same time. You may discover that holding two disparate emotions simultaneously is another new normal.

Ask yourself, “Is it okay to be okay?”  The likely answer may be “it depends” and that’s okay. The New Normal will continue to evolve through the grief process.