After the loss of a loved one, every day can be incredibly hard to get through, but a special day or holiday such as Mother's Day can be even more difficult to face and manage. And unless you can bury yourself underground for a month or two and avoid every person, mall and TV, it's impossible to escape the fanfare leading up to holidays. Although there is nothing anyone can do or say to erase your pain or heartache, below are suggestions for getting through those special days, followed by a list of articles on coping with grief and loss.
Acknowledge your feelings. It's OK to feel sad or angry or bitter on days like this. Sometimes we feel like we have to avoid these painful feelings and hide them from ourselves and our families, but these feelings are part of the grieving process, and it's important to work through them.
Find a special way to honor your loved one. Volunteering for a special cause with family and friends may make you feel good and remind you how much love and purpose your life still has. If your loss was a result of cancer, you may be interested in participating in the American Cancer Society's "Relay for Life." Planting a tree or a flower that will blossom every year or visiting a new or special place with your family may be other good ways to honor your loved one.
Do something physical. Go for a walk, run, swim, dance, do yoga, etc. Exercise releases endorphins in your body that can help regulate your emotions, decrease your stress hormones, decrease depression and improve your sleeping patterns.
Remember. It's important to talk about your loved one and reflect on the good times you had together. Recalling moments you enjoyed together and the things you'll miss most can make you feel connected to your deceased loved one and those around you.
Articles on coping with the loss of a loved one
It's also important to reach out for additional support and services when you need it. You aren't alone on holidays or any other day. Knowing who to turn to can help you manage the emotions you may experience on days like this. Military OneSource is available 24/7 and consultants can provide assistance on a wide range of issues including grief and bereavement. In addition, non-medical counseling is available at no cost by phone, online or face-to-face if you meet the eligibility requirements.