The Importance of Creating New Holiday Traditions After a Loss
We’ve talked with many Milwaukeeans here at Krause Funeral Homes & Cremation Services who describe a feeling of melancholy that settles in during late fall. Some call it an emptiness; others refer to it as a sense of dread. At the root, it’s a lingering sadness that a loved one has died and the holidays are coming – ready or not.
Numerous members of our care team have lost a special friend or family member this past year, and we understand the pain firsthand. We also understand that “big days” have a way of magnifying grief like no other. Most of us have specific dreams and ideas of what the holidays should look like. But a death changes everything and brings with it the realization that nothing will be the same.
As the holidays approach, there are questions like, “I want to enjoy this time of year, but how can I without Dad? I feel so guilty having fun without him.” Or, “Who will bake our favorite Christmas cookies now that Grandma is gone? They don’t taste the same when I make them.” Or, “Will celebrating certain traditions be too hard on me emotionally?”
This year especially, as we are navigating such unusual circumstances, we want to encourage you to be patient with yourself. Grief can sneak up in unexpected ways, especially during a time when emotions are piqued and expectations tend to be high.
We also want to encourage you to think about creating and embracing new traditions to bring special meaning to the next couple of months. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Bake your loved one’s favorite holiday dish or treat.
- Ask family and friends to write down their favorite memory about your loved one, and then read them together.
- Visit your loved one’s final resting place and bring favorite flowers, a wreath, or another memento to express your love.
- Light a special candle in memory of your loved one.
- Select a special ornament in their honor and hang it on a tree or in a place of prominence in your home.
- Give a financial contribution to an organization your loved one believed in.
- Watch your loved one’s favorite holiday movie or listen to their favorite festive songs.
- Make a special toast to your loved one during a meal or gathering.
- Find an inspiration reading, poem, or passage to read every year going forward.
- Attend a religious service in person or online in their honor.
As the holidays approach, don’t forget that our caring staff is here for your family and our grief resources are always available to you. You can access our list of local partners that specialize in grief and loss, and if you need immediate help, be sure to check out our interactive, online grief support program. We hope that you are able to embrace new traditions and carry beautiful memories with you now – and the whole year through.