Holidays should be joyful, relaxing times, but when you’ve lost someone you love they can be full of painful reminders. Will you ever enjoy a holiday again?
ACCEPT THE PAIN AND DO IT ANYWAY
The pain of grief can be overwhelming, and when you’re in a situation that reminds you of the one you lost, the reality of it all can hit you harder than ever. This feels unbearable, yet it is all part of the process of grief. Try to have faith that you are gradually being taken towards peacefulness, even if it now seems impossible.
Feel totally free to cry, whenever, wherever. Never tell yourself you are ‘spoiling things’ by tears. They are a natural part of what you’re going through. Those you are with should understand this. If you want to be alone, however, that’s also fine. There’s nothing ‘unhealthy’ about it, so listen to your own needs.
SHOULD YOU ‘GET BACK ON THE BIKE’
You know the saying about falling off a bike? You need to get back on immediately or the fear grows and it gets worse. It may be similar when it comes to going back to places you visited with your loved one. The longer you leave it, the more you tell yourself you can’t face it, the more difficult it becomes, until you find there’s a block, and it seems impossible.
This is understandable and you need never feel you have to force yourself. However, it may not be as bad as it seems. Try not to let it stop you doing things you enjoy, possibly with friends or family. After you’ve faced this a few times it gets easier, especially if you have support. You will never forget the memories, but the emotions become more gentle.
If your loved one has left you, the situation may be different. There’s no point rubbing salt in your wounds by going back to ‘special places’ before you are ready, unless there’s a very good reason. Be aware that you may be stoking feelings of self-pity. Of course you are upset, but try not to let this affect your self-esteem. For now there may be happier places to go and new experiences to savour.
DON’T FEEL BAD IF YOU ENJOY YOURSELF
Sometimes you may catch yourself having a good moment. You may even start to experience good hours, and then good days. Let this happen and open your heart to tranquility – even glimpses of joy. You may feel you are being disloyal to the person you have lost, but remind yourself they would most certainly want you to be happy. Deep inside you may actually want to hold on to your grief as an ongoing connection with the one you have lost. You may realise this, or it may sound strange. However, it is a natural reaction. Rest assured you will never lose the bonds of love.
If your loved one has not died, but has left you, those moments of enjoyment are just the beginning on the road to a fulfilling life. Remember the motto ‘Live well is the best revenge’. Of course, you will not necessarily want real revenge, but you are certainly getting the balance straight in life if you can get back your ability to have a good time.
Loss can be like a physical illness – in fact some research is proving that heart-break is a real fact. So treat yourself to things that are good for your body and give you actual in-the-moment sensuous pleasure. Try massage, reflexology and similar, to soothe you and make you relax.
If you like sport, that can be very therapeutic. For a while you can lose the hurtful emotions in the exertion. Anger is a part of grief, whether you have lost someone through death, or abandonment, and exertion is a way to ‘take this out’. Always keep it in proportion, however. Do not overdo it or become reliant on exercise to take away the pain. Use it to keep fit and give you respite.
CLOSE TO YOUR LOVED ONE
If you have spiritual beliefs you may well feel that your loved one is with you in familiar places you’ve visited together, and the bond between you may be strengthened. There are certain places and circumstances that make it easier for those who have passed over to make contact, and this can be a great comfort. But never forget that you also live in the material world, so keep your perspective. After all, your dear one wants this for you.
If you don’t have these spiritual beliefs you may still experience a comforting closeness. If this happens don’t try to reason yourself out of it, or rationalize. Just enjoy any solace it brings.
If your lover has left you however, the situation is again different. Please see the comments in the last paragraph of ‘Get Back on the Bike’. Can it be doing you any good at all to cling to such memories? The most important task whatever your grief is to look after yourself. Make sure your choices are positive and forward-looking.
HOW WE CAN HELP
In the article above we have looked at several topics connected to holiday reminders and loss. These include acceptance, getting back to what you’ve done before, not feeling bad about enjoying yourself, simple pleasures and being close to your loved one. All of these can help, but there is no doubt that loss and grieving are individual and very difficult emotions. You need to feel free to cope in your own way and also to find help. This is always available with our sympathetic Readers who understand what you’re going through. Put in a call today and find the solace you need.
PUBLISHED: 11 August 2017