With the arrival of spring we see notable differences to the environment. New signs of spring are all over; new birds, new growth, new life! This may be the first spring you have observed since the death of your loved one. It may be especially difficult to watch the first tulips or daffodils unfold without that special person. You always enjoyed the first signs of spring together, and this year they are not here to enjoy that with you.
Easter brings joy and excitement for many people. Others find it difficult to face the day without their loved ones. As Easter approaches, your feelings of grief may be intensified. You may be feeling anger, loneliness, sadness, depression, guilt and other feelings which you felt closer to the death of your loved one. While nothing can ever take away the hurt you feel, these tips may help you cope with the Easter season.
Evaluate family traditions: There is no right way or wrong way to handle the day. Some people prefer to follow family traditions, while others decide to change them. It may help to do things a little differently this year. Remember, what you choose to do this year can always be changed again next year. Family gatherings may be extremely difficult. Be honest with each other about your feelings. Sit down and decide what you want to do for the holidays. Don’t set expectations to high for yourself or other family members. This year you can celebrate Easter – You have the ability to make it special in spite of your loss.
Children also need to be part of the planning: Include the children in the discussion about the holidays. Ask them what they would want or don’t want. Encourage children to express their feelings. It is important that adults listen to what children are saying – so encourage conversation with your children.
Caring for yourself: Holidays can be very tiring. Get plenty of rest – you will need every bit of strength. Don’t set expectations too high or overextend yourself. Remember your needs are important. Don’t put all your energy into looking after others. Make time for yourself this Easter. You will need quiet time to rest and reflect.
Embrace your memories: memories of your loved one are very precious. Share your memories with your family and friends. Reach out to others. Identify friends and family who understand your loss and can provide support and comfort. Talk to them. Let them know how you are feeling. Accept support when it is offered to you.
Seek professional help: If you or your family are finding it difficult to cope with your grief, this may be a good time to seek out professional help. Help may be found through your physician, social worker or clergy.
Plan for the future: It is always good to plan ahead. Plan an event after the holidays, as it will give you something to look forward to after Easter. This need not be a big event –even simple outings can be grand events when shared with people who care about you.
Although it’s difficult to see beyond your sorrows, may looking back in memory help comfort your tomorrows.
Margaret Anne Yost nursed for 35 years. I completed two units of Clinical Pastoral Education at the Regina General Hospital. Returning back to school I completed classes from the Red River College in the areas of Gerontology, Bereavement, Death and Dying.
I was enrolled eight years in lay ministry training, and graduated as a (LPA) Lay Pastoral Assistant. For twelve years I worked in bereavement support at a funeral home. At present I am employed as an Interim Parish Worker at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Melville Sask. I also enjoy my role as homemaker and full time grandmother.
If you are grieving at this time and you would like to share your story or comment on what you have read, I may be reached at the following numbers 1-306-621-9877 (9am-5pm) or at my home 1-306-728-4744 (evenings).
Comments and articles may also be forward to me by mail: Margaret Anne Yost, P.0. Box 554 Melville, Sask. S0A 2P0.