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Crisis, Grief, and Healing => Spouse, Partner Loss => Topic started by: Terry on October 04, 2011, 12:16:02 PM

Title: Holiday Tips/Ideas/Articles
Post by: Terry on October 04, 2011, 12:16:02 PM
There are many here that are going to be facing their first holiday season without their loved one. There is help for all and please feel free to post your *own* ideas and tips from holidays past. And, if you are further along on your journey, please share what has helped you.

It's so important to remember that you are not alone. There are many who walk *with* you and are just as confused and frightened, as there is nothing more difficult than dealing with all of those *firsts* without your loved one.

If you find an article that you feel could benefit others here, please post it. If you have an idea, post it! If you're already anticipating lack of family support and are not sure how to handle this, post it here.

Remember, this is *Your* grief and you own your feelings. You can participate in the holiday festivities and then you can choose not to. It is up to you.

Post any concerns here. Someone will help you. We care about each and everyone of you, very much!

Love,
Terry
Title: First Christmas after a Death
Post by: Terry on October 04, 2011, 12:20:50 PM
"The First Christmas After a Death" --Susan Dunn

1. When we grieve we have no energy.

Decisions are hard to make, the smallest chore seems monumental, ordinarily joyous things are not, things that used to bother you don’t bother you any more, you don’t defend yourself well, to pretend takes too much effort, and you need lots of rest.

“She is seeking the solace of sleep,” my sister would tell people who called.

Nothing matters. The oven goes out, dinner has to be canceled and you have to reconvene in a restaurant. You wonder why something like that would upset the others so much.

2. Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

Do what you know you should do. Think of a time when it mattered, if necessary – supplements, eating right, rest, talking to someone, keeping your obligations manageable, getting exercise.

Your immune system will be run down. Outsource it. Therapy and support groups bolster your immune system.

3. You can cancel Christmas if you want to.

Sleep, take a walk, or study something intellectual to get your mind off emotional things.

4. You can also change the venue.

One woman took her grown kids downtown to a hotel and they celebrated there.

5. People want to help you and they don’t know how.

Nothing will really help. You just want them back. But let others “do something”. If they ask and you can’t think of anything, ask them to “do something”. They’ll figure it out. Everyone knows houses must be cleaned, dogs walked, groceries bought, and meals prepared.

6. Alcohol doesn’t help anything.

7. Explain what you need.

Say, “If I get up and leave the table, just let me go. I’ll be OK. I’ll come back when I’m ready.”

8. You might get some relief helping others – serving dinner to the homeless, or buying gifts for a family in need.

Then again you might not, but at least you’ll have wasted some time.

9. What will you do with their Christmas stocking?

One woman set out her husband’s Christmas stocking with a journal beside it for visitors to write in it. Another woman slept with her daughter’s stocking under her pillow.

10. Avoid malls.

You see things you would buy for the one who is gone, you see the happy couples when you are no longer a couple, you see the cherubic face of a little boy who looks like the one you lost.

You hear the music. Even a little is too much. Remember you can turn the radio and television off.

In the words of a caring friend of mine, “Have a Christmas.” You may be hard put to supply the adjective, and that’s okay. If you choose to observe the day, “Have a Christmas,” and understand that those who slip and tell you, “Well, I hope you have a Merry Christmas,” don’t know what they’re saying.

The “firsts” are difficult – the first anniversary, the first birthday, the first Valentine’s Day, the first fall, summer, spring and winter.

“How odd,” you may think, when the first snow falls in the first winter after, or when the first daffodil blooms in the first spring after. “How odd that’s the same when the most important things are not.”

Prescriptions and predictions are annoying. Time does heal many people and it becomes less raw with time; however, if that time does come, it comes at its own pace. Be forgiving of yourself and others, and, well, have a Christmas. Or don’t. One way or another that particular day will pass and you will have survived your first Christmas without them.

Together our group had a holiday memorial to our loved ones, lighting the 4 candles in the Advent wreath. No one knows who wrote the prayer, but here it is:

A HOLIDAY MEMORIAL FOR [YOUR LOVED ONE]

As we light these 4 candles in honor of you, we light one for our grief, one for our courage, one for our memories, and one for our love.

This candle represents our grief. The pain of losing you is intense. It reminds us of the depth of our love for you.

This candle represents our courage – to confront our sorrow, to comfort each other, to change our lives.

This candle is in your memory – the times we laughed, the times we cried, the times we were angry with each other, the silly things you did, the caring and joy you gave us.

This candle is the light of love. As we enter this holiday season day by day we cherish the special place in our hearts that will always be reserved for you. We thank you for the gift your living brought to each of us. We love you.

And then you can say their name.
Title: Re: HolidayTips/Ideas
Post by: DaveB on October 04, 2011, 08:43:06 PM
Don't know what to do about the holidays this year. Part of me aches to see everyone again, yet I have distanced myself from them recently. I think what I really need to do is forewarn them that I'm still kind of a wreck before I head over there. I don't want anyone to be surprised when they see how bad off emotionally I still am (I feel like I am, anyway).

Judy's family, and in particular her three sisters, really welcomed me as part of their family when Judy introduced me to them years ago (1982). This was before we were married...I was still just their baby sister's boyfriend! I still vividly remember that first Thanksgiving. Her sisters have similar sounding names, and I thought I would never be able to figure out who was who! What great memories I have of that time. I know they still love me, and would do anything to help me, but I have been keeping my distance. Why? I don' think I understand why myself.

The Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays are troubling for me because I took Judy to the hospital for the last time just before Thanksgiving last year, and she passed away in the hospital on Dec. 3rd. I did go to Christmas celebration last year at one of Judy's sisters house, but I was mostly numb. I guess I'm afraid I'll be overcome and break down or something. This all has really been consuming me lately...
Title: Re: HolidayTips/Ideas
Post by: oneangel on October 04, 2011, 09:54:56 PM
I know exactly how you feel DaveB. When my husband passed away Nov.2009, the holidays were quite difficult for me and my children. The most difficult thing is that I don't have any family myself, all I have is my husband's family, and although they have taken me in as their own, I still to this day, since his passing, don't feel like I belong there anymore. We visit ALL of the time, my kids love them dearly, but I just have this feeling in me that I can't shake.

As for tips, every holiday, whether it be birthdays, Easter, or whatever, my kids and I bring a sweet treat to the cemetery to share with my husband, their father. We usually bring a chocolate bar (Kit Kat works really well), and break off a piece for each one of us, and then eat an extra piece for their dad. It makes them feel like they are still celebrating with him. They also still make holiday cards and stick them up at the mausoleum. The holiday is not over until they have celebrated at the mausoleum with him.

Hope this helps!
Title: Re: HolidayTips/Ideas
Post by: gaberax on October 05, 2011, 06:03:44 AM
Don't know what to do about the holidays this year. Part of me aches to see everyone again, yet I have distanced myself from them recently. I think what I really need to do is forewarn them that I'm still kind of a wreck before I head over there. I don't want anyone to be surprised when they see how bad off emotionally I still am (I feel like I am, anyway).


DaveB, I suggest you write what is called a grief letter.  Here is the one I wrote and have been handing out to my family, friends, supervisor at work and co-workers.  It may help you format your own letter.  Good luck to you and hang in there.


September 15, 2011


As you know I suffered a tremendous loss when Denise recently passed away.  Her passing has rocked my world to the core.  We shared everything.  She was the center of my world and I continue to miss her terribly.

Now I find that I am going through the grieving process.  It has been a hard journey so far and while I am told it will get easier, I anticipate I will never be “over it”…through it maybe but never over it.   I believe at some future point I will learn to have accepted it.  I will always love her, now and forever, and will always treasure the love she gave me.

It had occurred to me, and has been confirmed by some of the information I have gathered at the grief counseling meetings I have attended, that I am not only grieving for the loss of Denise but all of the myriad of things associated with losing her.  Her homemade blueberry pies, the way she spooned me in bed, her sitting beside me in the truck, her daily phone call…hundreds and hundreds of things associated with the life we shared that I will have to absorb, grieve over and let go. 

I am also grieving for myself.  I defined myself by the relationship we shared and now that that has ended I will have to redefine myself…find my life’s “new normal.”  It is not a process I had expected or even wanted to go through but I understand it will be necessary in order for me to move on.  It may not be comfortable and may not be easy but it must be done.

For now, I can only tell you that I am experiencing many of the “symptoms” of grieving of which others before me have advised me to anticipate.  The sudden engulfing wave of loss and pain, the unexpected tears, the mental confusion, the paralysis; all these things I have experienced and will most likely continue to experience for the foreseeable future.

So I ask for your understanding if I don’t seem like my old self or if some days I am withdrawn.  Or if, overcome with emotion, I excuse myself.  Maybe I will not want to do things that I have done in the past or I may need some private time to myself.  There may be parties, celebrations or holidays that I chose to bypass. These things will happen and they are a natural part of the process.  During this adjustment time I may need your help and if I do I will ask for it.  That may be as simple as listening to me talk or sitting quietly with me.  I don’t really know.  Otherwise, when you consider me, consider that “I am okay.”  No need to constantly ask me or worry about me.  I assure you that whatever pain I am feeling has not been caused by anything you have done or said.  I refer to the pain as “emotional shrapnel.”  It has to work itself out and will not be denied.

I look forward to the day when I have passed through the grief.  I look forward to the day when I can fondly remember all that I had with Denise…without the overwhelming pain and without the uncontrollable tears.  I look forward to the day when I have truly accepted the reality of the loss and made peace with it.  I am working toward that.  At this time, I appreciate your patience and concern.  And I thank you for all of the support you have shown.

God Bless You,
Title: Re: First Christmas after a Death
Post by: johnkmurray on October 05, 2011, 02:03:15 PM
Last year was the first Christmas since losing my wife to cancer. Christmas was always such a special time of year for us and facing it for the first time without her was not something I was prepared to do. Not surprisingly I had difficulty getting into the spirit of the season. More "Bah, Humbug" than "Merry Christmas". My first thoughts were that if I ignored the season it would just go away and stop bothering me. Didn't happen, dangit.

A couple of weeks before Christmas I raised the white flag and decorated the house, then went on Facebook and posted the following to Kit's page.
The stockings are hung by the chimney with care,
The lights are up,the garlands strung.The house looks festive
But, like a gaily wrapped box with no present inside, it sits,
Empty


In spite of my best efforts to ignore it Christmas didn't go away. I think I had Christmas dinner with friends - I know I didn't spend the entire day home, alone. That day I posted the following to Kit's Facebook:
Christmas Day
Our first apart after so many together
I lay in our bed, tears soaking your pillow
Tell Baby Jesus Happy Birthday for me
While you’re at it ask him why you had to suffer
... And be taken from us far too soon
I’m told that God has a plan
Some days I think he just makes shit up as he goes along


Is there a moral to this story? Basically, Christmas is going to suck, but with the help of good friends/family we can get through it. I'll probably decorate again this year, although that single stocking looked kinda lonely on the fireplace. Like last year I'll draw the line at putting up a tree. Just not gonna do it. The empty space beneath a tree that used to be filled with gifts, well I'm just not gonna face that.

John
Title: Re: First Christmas after a Death
Post by: browneyedgirl on October 05, 2011, 04:28:38 PM
(((John))))

I know the feeling of ignoring Christmas.  My brother loved Christmas and he loved giving.  Unfortunaly, we couldn't ignore it because of the young son he left behind. 

I used to love Christmas, the smells, the decorations, the food.....This will be my 3rd Christmas without my brother.  And yes, you're right, it sucks, and it still sucks...but for me, it's getting a little better. 

Lots of love and hugs, always!
Title: Re: First Christmas after a Death
Post by: Terry on October 05, 2011, 04:45:01 PM

The first few are pretty rough, especially if we try to just go through the motions, for others. I tried that one year and failed miserably, and it wasn't until weeks 'after' Christmas that I paid that price.

We do what we can and what we need to to get through. I'm glad to hear that you're snuggled safe in your choices.

Nice entries to Kit. :(

(((((John)))))
Title: Re: HolidayTips/Ideas
Post by: DaveB on October 05, 2011, 07:44:46 PM
Oneangel, sounds like we do have similar situations. I have two sisters, but they both live kind of far away, so I don't see them very often. That's it for my family. My wife's family all live close to me. My wife and I moved from far away many years ago just to be close to her family. I have been part of that family since day one, yet...I feel more like an outsider now than I ever have before. Doesn't make sense, because they've never done anything to make me feel like one. I will say this, and maybe it will apply to you as well...they told me after Judy passed away that they hoped to never lose me, because I am now their connection to her. When they see me, they see Judy too, because of all our years together. We had become one, essentially. And the same is true for me...when I see them, listen to them, observe how they act, I see Judy. I don't know, maybe that's why I'm having trouble. The last time we all were together was in May, for Judy's birthday celebration. It was a pretty emotional day, for all of us.

Gaberax, I like the idea of a letter. Thank you for sharing that. That's something I hadn't thought of. That would give everyone a good idea of how I'm doing, instead of them trying to guess, which I think they are all probably doing now.
Title: Re: First Christmas after a Death
Post by: arthur on October 05, 2011, 10:10:32 PM
Wow what a valuable topic. I'm going to copy it and post it at work at my desk and on my fridge for this my 1st xmas without my sweet Maureen. Thanks everyone!-arthur
Title: Re: First Christmas after a Death
Post by: Terry on October 05, 2011, 11:04:42 PM

Love to you, Arthur!!
Title: Re: HolidayTips/Ideas
Post by: gaberax on October 06, 2011, 08:41:01 AM
DaveB,

If you haven't heard of GriefShare, I advise you look into it. It is a 13 week program that is available in many churches.  A friend advise me and I am attending a session at two different churches.  While I personally feel that the video portion of the session is a little heavy handed with a religious overtone, the part of the session where everyone talks about their loss and how they are coping is invaluable.  There is a workbook that you need and it runs about $15 but I only had to buy it once.

Good luck to you.
Title: Re: First Christmas after a Death
Post by: browneyedgirl on October 06, 2011, 09:53:24 AM
(((Arthur)))

Lots of love to you, my friend.
Title: Re: First Christmas after a Death
Post by: johnkmurray on October 07, 2011, 12:42:30 PM
(((Pam)))
You offer so much of yourself to the rest of us here that I lose sight of the fact that your own loss is so recent.

(((Terry)))
That first Christmas without Kit seemed so empty, but I'm hoping I can 'do better' this year and face it rather than let it happen to me.

John
Title: Surviving Grief During the Holiday Season
Post by: Terry on October 09, 2011, 03:15:08 PM

Written by: Angela Morrow, RN

With the first fallen leaf of autumn, we begin to anticipate the holidays ahead. Our senses are acute and take in everything: the smell of turkey roasting and freshly baked pies; the holiday songs playing on the radio; the sound of laughter from our loved ones who have gathered together. But for those of us who are experiencing illness, grief, or the loss of a loved one, the holidays can be a time of sadness, pain, anger, or dread.

The ebb and flow of grief can overwhelm us with waves of memories, especially during the holidays. Grief will also magnify the stress that is already a part of the holiday season. How do we begin to fill the emptiness we feel when it seems everyone else is overflowing with joy? There are some strategies to help you cope during the holidays and beyond.

Strategies for Survival


Offer Yourself Some Grace

The best thing you can do this holiday season is be kind to yourself. Give yourself permission to feel whatever it is your feeling. Don’t fall prey to the belief that you have to feel a certain way or do certain things for your holiday to be “normal.” If you feel sad, allow the tears to come; if you feel angry, allow yourself to vent some steam.

Be Kind to Yourself

Get the rest and nourishment you need. Don’t take on any more than you can handle. If you need to be alone, honor that. If you crave the company and affection of others, seek it out. Do whatever it is that feels right to you.

Ask For and Accept Help

The holiday season is no time to feign strength and independence. You will need the help and support of others to get through. Don’t feel as though you are a burden. People get immense satisfaction and joy from helping those they care about.

In times of need, other people desire to help but often don’t know how. This is the time for you to
speak up and make your needs known. If you need someone to help you with meals, shopping, or decorating, tell them so. They will be delighted to feel like they are helping you in some way.

The same holds true for your emotional needs. Friends and family may feel uncomfortable when it comes to talking about your grief. They may think that you don’t want to talk about it and don’t want to remind you of your pain. Again, you will have to direct them in the best way to help you. If you want to talk about what you’re going through or just want a shoulder to cry on, let your loved ones know.

Find Support

Sharing your feelings is the best way to get through them. You need people you can talk to. Friends and relatives can be a great support to us during times of grief, but they are sometimes full of their own grief or so immersed in the business of the holidays that they cannot be a support to you. Support groups for caregivers and the bereaved are plentiful during the holiday season. Check with local churches, community centers, and hospice agencies to find a group that suites you. Support group members often make friends that end up being a source of support for years to come.

Make a Difference

Most of us like to help others during the holiday season. Taking the ornament off the tree at the mall, dropping our change in the charity basket, or donating to our favorite organization can help us feel like we are contributing to a greater good. Helping others in times of grief can help take the focus off yourself and your pain. Volunteering at a nursing home, hospital, children’s shelter, or soup kitchen can be cathartic in times of pain. Even helping a friend or family member in need can be healing.

Stop the Comparisons

It’s easy to watch other families and compare them to your own. Seeing other families together and enjoying the festivities may make you feel deprived. Keep in mind that the holidays are stressful for most families and are rarely the magical gatherings depicted in greeting cards. Try to embrace what you have rather than compare it to what you think others have.

Remember That You Will Survive

As hard as it is for you right now, you will survive. You will make it through the holidays in one piece. It may be the most difficult season in your time of grief, but it will pass. And when it does, you will come out on the other side stronger than before.
You don’t have to enjoy the holidays. You don’t even have to go through the motions pretending to enjoy the festivities. But, it’s also just fine to have a good time in spite of your grief. If happiness slips through your window of grief, allow it to happen and enjoy it. You won’t be doing your loved one an injustice by feeling joyous. The best gift you can give anyone you love, even someone you have lost, is being true to yourself and living your life to the fullest.
Title: Re: Holiday Tips/Ideas/Articles
Post by: roseygirl61 on October 12, 2011, 06:32:27 PM
I'm new here have read some posts and realize just how much the Holidays are going to be way too hard this year. :(
My husband passed away the end of May, it was such a shock, I was numb for weeks and sometimes think I am still just numb.  On his birthday, August 22nd my nephew passed away, again unexpected.  I don't know which way to turn at this point. I have a 15 year old son, so I think I have to go through the motions I just don't know where to get the strength to do it any more.  I'm soo very worried about Matt, my son, that I don't think I have taken the proper steps of greiving myself.
It's time to take those steps for proper healing, just don't know where to begin.  Sometimes i think I'm going crazy, can't sleep or think straight, forget things and am just in a fog. Yes I beleive the Holidays are going to be real tough!
Title: Re: Holiday Tips/Ideas/Articles
Post by: jasonkl on October 12, 2011, 07:50:51 PM
Roseygirl61
 Sorry for your loss. I lost my Jen in the middle of augest it was unexpected. I was numb for weeks and still found I'm numb alot. I have a 17 year old son who I thought wasn't dealing with the loss of his mother, I have talk with him he is just in his own way. He has been trying to stay strong for me, aparentlly when I thought I was hiding some of my greif from him I wasn't doing a very good job.  I don't know if ther any proper steps for healing. Everyone I have talked to has there own way of healing. This journey we are all on seems to be alittle differnt for all of us.
 
[Sometimes i think I'm going crazy, can't sleep or think straight, forget things and am just in a fog.
[/quote]
I feel like that all the time .
Title: Re: Holiday Tips/Ideas/Articles
Post by: oneangel on October 12, 2011, 07:52:20 PM
roseygirl61: I know exactly how you feel. I still feel that way after almost two years since my husband has passed. The holidays are going to be difficult. Allow yourself to be sad, cry or whatever helps. I also understand about not grieving properly because of the kids. I have a 7, 6 and 2 year old. I am always wondering how they are feeling which just adds to my stress. Maybe you can ask your son to help you come up with a way that just the two of you can do to remember your husband during the holidays. My kids are younger so we came up with taking a treat to the mausoleum and eating it with their dad. It makes them feel like they are still celebrating with him.
I wish you strength during these upcoming difficult times.
Title: Re: Holiday Tips/Ideas/Articles
Post by: Terry on October 12, 2011, 11:51:36 PM

I'm new here have read some posts and realize just how much the Holidays are going to be way too hard this year. :(
My husband passed away the end of May, it was such a shock, I was numb for weeks and sometimes think I am still just numb.  On his birthday, August 22nd my nephew passed away, again unexpected.  I don't know which way to turn at this point. I have a 15 year old son, so I think I have to go through the motions I just don't know where to get the strength to do it any more.  I'm soo very worried about Matt, my son, that I don't think I have taken the proper steps of greiving myself.
It's time to take those steps for proper healing, just don't know where to begin.  Sometimes i think I'm going crazy, can't sleep or think straight, forget things and am just in a fog. Yes I beleive the Holidays are going to be real tough!

Hi Rosie, Welcome to Webhealing!

I'm so sorry for the recent loss of your husband and that of your nephew. Please send your sister my love and let her know there is support here for the loss of her precious son.

There are many articles posted and will continue to be for those struggling with the holiday season. It is the most difficult time of the year as it is all about family and what's most difficult, even moreso is the fact that it isn't just one day. It is months and the build up can be overwhelming. Please know we are here for you in every way.

My heart goes out to your son, Matt also. Such a fragile and confusing age, anyway and to have to deal with the loss of his Dad and his cousin, must be so trying for him.

I feel you've already taken those steps to seek healing by sharing your story and your feelings. There is nothing more important after losing someone we love so much, than to talk/share about them and how we're feeling as much as we can. I don't think you're going crazy, at all. That numb feeling and the inability to concentrate or think straight is normal when grieving, especially this early in your grief.

Try to take good care of yourself by resting, even if you can't sleep and snacking often on healthy foods and drinking plenty of water. Thinking back, I sure wish I would have taken better care of myself, but it's just too easy not to, when grieving a great loss.

Jason and Angela have shared their stories and offered support and caring as they can relate to the same difficulties when grieving and I'm sure you'll hear from many others. We make it one day at a time and with a lot of help from our friends. The people on these boards are awesome!

I look forward to hearing more about your precious husband when you are comfortable doing so. Feel free to post day or night as there is always someone here.

Sending hugs and lots of love,

((((((Rosie))))))

My Love,
Terry
Title: Re: Holiday Tips/Ideas/Articles
Post by: arthur on November 14, 2011, 09:08:23 AM
I literally got fresh xmas wreaths a few minutes ago from boy scouts.I didn't stop to think about it..but its the 1st and mybe the onlything I'll put up for xmas this year. I find myself looking at all the holiday preparations like I'm inside of a glass bubble, seperated from it all and detached from the anticipation and joy that is prevalent at this time of year. To me, like it is to everyone else who posts here, its just another day without the love of my life. Its really cold outside and the ice is forming on the lakes, but I feel like I am already encased in ice.
Title: Re: Holiday Tips/Ideas/Articles
Post by: jasonkl on November 15, 2011, 08:40:01 AM
I need some advice. I currently live with my bother and his family. He has a 2 year old son. Last year he put up a big holiday display. At this moment in time I'm unsure if I can handle see it or not. My son on the other hand is agaist any decorations at all, but he still wants to exchange gifts. I'm torn not sure how to handle any of this. My range of emontions have been very up and down lately. Open to any ideas on thi

Jason
Title: Re: Holiday Tips/Ideas/Articles
Post by: gaberax on November 16, 2011, 11:30:16 AM
Jasonkl,

Not exactly facing the same issues as you but one of my twin daughters has completed college and will move in with me this Friday.  She wants a tree, decorations and the works.  I really don't want to do that.  I think we will have to come to some sort of agreement.

I am going to ask her to attend a few of the GriefShare meetings I attend now.  I want her to understand, in some small way, the pain I am dealing with.  Perhaps she will understand then.

As to your situation, I am not qualified to offer anything that might help you in your situation.  Perhaps you and your son could go on a trip during the holidays?  I know that's not much of an answer but it is hard to runaway from Christmas.  I've thought about it and I see no other option for myself than to put my head down and plow through it.  I just don't want to do all the decorations, tree trimming and constant hoopla that goes with it.  Maybe in doable doses but scaled back from the old normal.

Good luck.
Title: Re: Holiday Tips/Ideas/Articles
Post by: oneangel on November 18, 2011, 06:58:24 AM
I really did not have a choice but to decorate since I have small children and didn't want to take that away from them too. My husband also said before he left, that I was to continue on the traditions and I didn't want to let him down. I definitely scaled down though, more because of the lack of energy. I found though that, decorations or not, my feelings didn't change, but I had some pleasure in seeing my kids happy to see the Christmas stuff out. I know of a family who lost her husband, they went away for that first Christmas. Maybe a good idea for some.
Title: Re: Holiday Tips/Ideas/Articles
Post by: MyLou on November 25, 2011, 03:46:11 AM
Terry,

Thank you for all the tips.  I know once again the holidays will be hard for me.  Last year I was a zombie and I might go into the mode again. 

I am def going to light the candles.  I light a candle every once in awhile for Lou while I am just laying around thinking.  I've been to church and lite candles in his name.  I love this idea of the 4 candles and I will do it every year now going forward.

A HOLIDAY MEMORIAL FOR [YOUR LOVED ONE]

As we light these 4 candles in honor of you, we light one for our grief, one for our courage, one for our memories, and one for our love.

This candle represents our grief. The pain of losing you is intense. It reminds us of the depth of our love for you.

This candle represents our courage – to confront our sorrow, to comfort each other, to change our lives.

This candle is in your memory – the times we laughed, the times we cried, the times we were angry with each other, the silly things you did, the caring and joy you gave us.

This candle is the light of love. As we enter this holiday season day by day we cherish the special place in our hearts that will always be reserved for you. We thank you for the gift your living brought to each of us. We love you.

And then you can say their name.

When should I light the candles?  Anytime or Christmas Day?

Thank you for always being here for us.  You always have the kindest and sweetest words. 

((((((((((((((((( TERRY ))))))))))))))))))

Love always,

Lisa  
Title: Re: Holiday Tips/Ideas/Articles
Post by: Terry on November 30, 2011, 09:31:09 PM

(((Lisa)))

I really like the idea of the candles, too and what they represent as each one is lit. This particular group lit them at an event around the holidays, but I assume that anytime you would like to honor Lou by the lighting of these candles, and as you shared making it a tradition every year, could be lit at any time. That would be your personal choice.

I am going to pick out four tomorrow and set them up. It will just be me and Dad here so for me, too it can be any time. I was thinking of picking out a real pretty wreath. Plain but I can add little balls and wrapped gifts with my babies names on them. I'll add my Momma....everyone. I better find a big wreath and start planning!

Candle light is beautiful, isn't it? I always enjoy it.

Thanks for such a nice message. I appreciate it!

(((((Lisa)))))

Love,
Terry
Title: Re: Holiday Tips/Ideas/Articles
Post by: MyLou on December 04, 2011, 06:07:58 AM
Terry,

Yes, the candle light is beautiful.  I've been looking for 4 green candles.  Of course looks like everyone is buying them up.  Lou's favorite candle was green. 

Did you buy your wreath yet?   That is so beautiful what you are doing with the wreath. 

I also want to say, that I always think of you and your pain that you hold.  You are always here for us and I want to let you know I am here for you too.

(((((((((((((((((( TERRY ))))))))))))))))))))))

Love always,

Lisa  
Title: Re: Holiday Tips/Ideas/Articles
Post by: Terry on December 04, 2011, 02:38:58 PM

Lisa,

I still haven't gotten out to shop for anything. I'm hoping in the next few days, maybe even tomorrow. When I get my wreath and candles, I'll post the picture here. I'm looking forward to shopping for them.
Terry,
I also want to say, that I always think of you and your pain that you hold.  You are always here for us and I want to let you know I am here for you too.
 


Thank you, Lisa. I appreciate that, so much.

When you get your candles set up, I'd love to see them! Maybe we'll start a thread for the ways we are honoring/remembering our very precious, missed loved ones this Christmas. Whether it be a card, a note or a single flower on a grave site....we all have our own way of honoring them and starting a new tradition. They deserve to be honored.

Hugs & Love,
Terry
Title: Re: Holiday Tips/Ideas/Articles
Post by: johnkmurray on December 06, 2011, 01:59:27 PM
My wreath is up. Does that count as decorating? ;-)

I also got the box of lights from the garage. It made it to the living room where it sits until I get another burst of enthusiasm. As for the rest of it I haven't started shopping for the few people on my list, nor have I started Christmas cards. Really out to get moving on the latter - some are going to Australia.

John
Title: Re: Holiday Tips/Ideas/Articles
Post by: Terry on December 06, 2011, 03:04:09 PM
Hey John!

I'm not decorating. What I was referring to in my last post here was setting up the candles and I thought they would look nice in a wreath. This way I can add whatever I choose; little wrapped gifts and balls and even maybe some white lights. I have poetry I wrote for my children, Momma and husbands that I will fold into a star and add them to the wreath, also.

This is posted under holiday tips and ideas, etc and I really like it and want to do this for all I'm missing this year. I believe that Lisa is going to do it, too. I don't feel like decorating but this is different as it is in honor of our loved ones and they all enjoyed the holidays.

I copied and pasted it below in case you hadn't read it. Let me know what you think, John.

(I would mail those cards tomorrow if they are going to Australia...hehe :))

A HOLIDAY MEMORIAL FOR YOUR LOVED ONE

As we light these 4 candles in honor of you, we light one for our grief, one for our courage, one for our memories, and one for our love.

This candle represents our grief. The pain of losing you is intense. It reminds us of the depth of our love for you.

This candle represents our courage – to confront our sorrow, to comfort each other, to change our lives.

This candle is in your memory – the times we laughed, the times we cried, the times we were angry with each other, the silly things you did, the caring and joy you gave us.

This candle is the light of love. As we enter this holiday season day by day we cherish the special place in our hearts that will always be reserved for you. We thank you for the gift your living brought to each of us. We love you.

And then you can say their name.
Title: Re: Holiday Tips/Ideas/Articles
Post by: johnkmurray on December 06, 2011, 07:03:05 PM
Thanks for posting that Terry. I like the idea, and Kit did leave me with a few cnadles around the house. She loved candles. I'll do more decorating, but I think working the candle ceremony or something like it into this holiday makes sense. It'll need revision, me living alone like I do.

Oh, and I ordered stamps earlier tonight. Soon as they get here the overseas cards will go out. My first card of the season arrived the other day - from Sydney, Australia.

John
Title: Re: Holiday Tips/Ideas/Articles
Post by: MyLou on December 07, 2011, 06:45:07 PM
((((((((((( Terry )))))))))))))))

You don't need to thank me I know you hold a lot of pain like us.

Yes, I would love to share but it looks difficult to upload your pictures to the website. 

I wrote Lou a Christmas Card last year and of course read it to him.  I carry a copy in my wallet.  I went to the cemetery to put a wreath down too.

This year I am def going to do the candles, card, wreath and flowers. 

I  can't believe this is the 2nd Christmas without him.

I don't know when my tears will get softer. It hurts so bad.

Always,

Lisa
 
Title: Re: Holiday Tips/Ideas/Articles
Post by: Terry on December 07, 2011, 08:09:33 PM
 
Hi Lisa,

Have you ever read the board "Tutorials" and How-To's for every part of the board? I'm posting the section on pictures for you. It is so easy. Open an account at Photobucket which just takes a minute. Upload your pictures on there. At the top where all of the icons are under B for bold and I for italics and so on is a blue globe. Click in that and it will show two urls side by side and your photo info will be pasted right in the middle of the two.
Now, when you get the code for your picture and you'll have three to choose from on Photoobucket, just place the address it lists in between the two urls, like so and choose the IMAGE CODE: [url=http://picturesfromlisasalbumphotobucket]]picturesfromlisasalbumphotobucket] (http://[/url)
Now, when you get the code for your picture and you'll have three to choose from on Photoobucket, just place the address it lists in between the two urls, like so and choose the IMAGE CODE: picturesfromlisasalbumphotobucket (http://picturesfromlisasalbumphotobucket) and that's it!

Here is the link for posting pictures. I just copied and pasted the section you need to post a picture (the first one that is in BOLD type) but do look over the Tutorials when you get a chance.
http://webhealing.com/forums/index.php/topic,6963.0.html (http://webhealing.com/forums/index.php/topic,6963.0.html)

The card sounds nice, Lisa. Time does go by and we're left in disbelief at how they can be gone that long. I 'do' understand. It will become bearable one day. I promise. I can't promise that the pain goes away but the intense and overwhelming pain does become bearable. We learn to live with it as it is the result of a great love that was taken from us. It is the price of that love.

Hugs and Love,
Terry
__________________________________

HOW TO ADD A PICTURE


How to apply pictures that automatically appear as your signature on each post:

On the toolbar click on  tab   to open your profile.
Click on the Forum Profile Information that is located on the left off your profile.
You will find the area to post your URL here on the bottom under Signature.
You need to upload your picture to a hosting site first, like www.photobucket.com (http://www.photobucket.com)
Pictures saved on your computer will not work here.

Getting Photo’s to post off Photobucket:
•   First, go to www.photobucket.com (http://www.photobucket.com) and sign up for an account (it’s free).
•   Pick where your photo is FROM on the far right. (Choose: my computer)
•   Click on UPLOAD or Choose Files button and your files will appear.
•   Find your picture click on it then click ‘Open’.
•   You will see your photo now on photobucket page.
•   Double click on the photo and the codes will appear.  Copy the URL that is the IMG code.
•   You need to now go back to your profile    then to Forum Profile Information.
•   At the bottom where it says Signature:  paste the IMG code there.  You can still paste the URL in the box even if you have a poem or saying in there.
•   Click on the Change profile button.
•   You should now have a picture at the bottom of your post.
•   The picture should appear on the bottom of your signature area when you open your profile    now.

Getting Photo’s to post off of the internet:

Go to the website where the picture is.
Right click on the picture and choose ‘properties’.
A pop up will appear and copy the Location address.
•   You need to now go back to your profile    then to Forum Profile Information.
•   At the bottom where it says Signature:  paste the URL there.  You can still paste the URL in the box even if you have a poem or saying in there.
•   Add the bbCode around the address which is
Code:
(http://in front  and) at the end)
Should look similar to:
Code:
(http://yourpicture/images/g-small2.jpg)
•   Click on the Change profile button.
•   You should now have a picture at the bottom of your post.
•   The picture should appear on the bottom of your signature area when you open your profile   now.



How to apply pictures only once on a specific post from my personal saved files as a signature:
You do not need a URL for this one time post.  You may access your pictures out of your personal photo’s saved in your computer.
After you write your post, before you send it, go to the bottom left and look for Additional Options.
Click on that and you will see Attach.  On the right is the Browse button,  and go to your file.  
Click on your picture that is in your file in that ‘Upload box’ pop up.
Click on ‘Open’ and you will now see the passage way typed in that area.
Now hit SAVE and your picture should be there.
The picture will appear in the signature area where one can click on the .jpg link to view it.




How to apply pictures only once on a specific post in the body of my post:
You will need an URL for this type of picture.
When you have opened a window to post, you may insert a picture anywhere within your message.  When you are ready to insert your picture:
Click on 2nd window on the tool bar just above the ‘similes’ (It looks like a picture in a white frame).  You will then see this appear:  
Code:
(http://)
You paste your URL in the center of it to look similar to:  
Code:
(http://www.google.com/images/lilboy.jpg)
Once you are done with the post, click on PREVIEW before sending to make sure your code does not have spaces in address.  If your picture appears, it is ok to send



How to apply a picture in an email to another member:
You will need an URL for this type of picture.
When you have the New Message window open, you may insert a picture anywhere within your message.  When you are ready to insert your picture:
Click on 2nd window on the tool bar just above the ‘similes’ (It looks like a picture in a white frame).  You will then see this appear  
Code:
(http://)
You paste your URL in the center of it should look similar to:
Code:
(http://www.google.com/images/lilboy.jpg)
Once you are done with the email, click on PREVIEW before sending to make sure your code does not have spaces in address.  If your picture appears, it is ok to send.



How to apply a picture under your Username:
You will need to enter your profile  under Forum Profile Information you have Personalized Picture.
Click on I have my own: and add your URL.
Click on Change profile button on bottom.



FAQ regarding Photo Posting:

Q. What is a URL?
A.  It is the actual web address for the photo.  It looks like http://www.yoururl.com/mypicture.jpg (http://www.yoururl.com/mypicture.jpg)
It starts with the http:// and ends with a .jpg when it is a picture.

Q. How do I copy the URL off of the website?
A. Go to the website where the picture is.
Right click on the picture and choose ‘properties’.
A pop up will appear and copy the Location address.


Q. I finally got the pictures to post but every time I do they are GIGANTIC.  How do I make them smaller?
A.  They need to be resized using a photo editing software program prior to posting.

Q.  Can I have more than one picture in the signature area?
A.  Yes.  Try to post the pictures that are resized smaller and keep the larger one for your personal file.

Q.  I changed the photo in my signature area and the picture now doesn't show up in the signature box anymore, just a link.  What did I do wrong?
A.  Make sure your link that you pasted in has the whole web address. Use the codes examples shown earlier.

Q.  I have problems with trying to attach a picture with my replies. Most of the time the message I get is that my file is too large (even though it is less than the stated 128kb), Often I get the message "your upload folder is full, contact administrator." Would you be able to help me with this? I don't know what I'm doing wrong?
A.  Just send Tom and email, he will be able to look into if it is a software glitch.

Q.  I pasted the URL but still don't see a picture.  What is wrong?
A.  Make sure it is posted in the Signature area not the web URL area.  See if you have the
Code:
(http://)
around your address with no spaces in the whole address.


Title: Re: Holiday Tips/Ideas/Articles
Post by: Terry on November 25, 2012, 01:43:05 PM
Tips for Surviving Grief & the Holidays

Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other seasonal holidays are stressful for nearly everyone. But they can be particularly difficult if you’re grieving the death of a loved one.

The pain, sadness and loneliness that often follow the loss of a friend, family member or animal companion can feel unbearable when everyone around you is celebrating. This is especially true if it’s the first holiday without the loved one.

Grieving in general is a struggle but during the holidays, when our emotions are already on high alert, trying to figure out what to do can be very confusing, especially if you are trying to keep everything as it was before the person died. Traditional tasks such as cooking, tree decorating, gift-buying and entertaining can add to the intensity of one’s grief, too.

Grief is a normal human reaction to the loss of someone important in our lives. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Every person grieves in their own way and at their own pace. Grief can affect people physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.

Most importantly: No one needs to grieve alone!

Be mindful of the energy that grieving and the holidays take. Both are hard work and exhausting. You can take care of yourself by spending your energy wisely, getting enough rest, and being careful not to overbook yourself with activities.  
    If certain family traditions—such as carving the turkey or leading the family in song—make you uncomfortable this year, don’t do them. You can always pick them up later.
    When you are grieving, your memory may not be up to par, or you may be having trouble concentrating. That’s normal. For holiday tasks such as cooking, shopping, cleaning and organizing, make lists and rely on them.  
    To avoid the stress of shopping, buy gift cards for everyone this year, or shop from catalogs or Internet sites. If mail order gifts cost more than you would normally spend, consider the difference a gift to yourself to preserve peace of mind.
    If your loss was an animal companion, ignore potential comments such as, “Get over it already! Enjoy yourself? It was just an animal.” Some people have never experienced a close bond with a pet and are unable to understand what you’re going through. Thank the person for their concern, and continue to grieve in your own way.  Seek out family members or friends who understand the pain of your loss.
    Pay attention to yourself. Listen when that little voice tells you that you’re tired and need to take a break from holiday preparation.
    
If you are feeling pressured to participate in more than you’re comfortable with, try saying “No thank you.” You don’t owe anyone an explanation. Be kind, but firm. Do what feels right to you.
    
If you are up for taking part in festivities, enjoy them in moderation and to your comfort level. Let the host know ahead of time that it’s hard for you to be around cheerful people right now, that you may need to leave early or cry unexpectedly.
    
If you are grieving too deeply and celebrating is not an option, remember the 3Cs: choice, communication and compromise. Give yourself permission to choose what specific things you want to do, and who you want to be with. Communicate your thoughts and feelings about those choices with loved ones, especially those also affected by the loss. Finally, be open to compromising with family and friends on all issues.  

Instead of trying to push back memories of the person you are grieving this holiday, ask friends and family members to share recollections with you in photographs, stories and mementos.
    
Find ways to include the loved one in your celebrations.

Some examples:

1) Nightly, light a holiday-scented memorial candle near a framed photo or photo collage. The symbol of light in darkness reminds us that there is hope.

2)  Put a place setting at the dinner table where the loved one always sat. Putting a single flower on the plate and leaving an empty glass will signify presence of spirit.

3) Make a special ornament or decoration that includes a memento or photo of your loved one. If children are grieving too, have them create artwork to display.

4) When alone in a safe place, relax with holiday tea or other favorite beverage, and talk out loud to your loved one, expressing your innermost thoughts and feelings. When finished, offer a prayer or a toast.  
    
Above all, trust that you will make it through the holidays this year. Even with the differences, you will find the experience bittersweet. Trust that while the season will be tinged with many emotions, you will be able to celebrate more fully in the future.  

There also are ways to help someone else who is grieving. Holidays are about love, and there’s no better way to show your love at this time than to just be there for the friend or family member on their terms; let them grieve in their own way and on their own time.

You can help by encouraging them to talk about their grief and share memories of the loved one who died. Also, refer to their loved one by name; it’s comforting to the grieving individual to hear. Listen to their story. Hold their hand. Sit with them as they cry. Offer help with holiday chores or daily activities. Respect their decision to not attend celebrations, and their need to be alone. Be supportive, and encourage them to find support outside of their social circle.

Written by: Marilyn Chapla

Title: Re: Holiday Tips/Ideas/Articles
Post by: Autumn Leaves on December 18, 2012, 02:48:31 PM
I really like the idea of the grief letter to family members so you don't have to verbalize your feelings if you are unable to do so. I think family members experience grief memories differently because they weren't such an intimate part of the relationship, the pairing of two souls. Life is no longer and can never again be what it was. I've lost my mother, grandmother, sibling but it was so much different when I lost my husband because he was part of my life, my routine.
It's been six years now but I talk to someone about something and I realize they don't have that memory, that the only person who knows exactly what I'm talking about isn't there anymore. I talk to people who will say "I can't believe he's been gone that long" or "So how long has it been" when I know because I've had to live without him every day of the six years and almost two months.
I've started a journal for our daughter so I can share some of these memories with her, tnings that we experienced together, how he marveled at his beloved infant daughter, how he was tickled that he has a daughter rather than a son, his love of music and his hijinks in high school and afterwards (even though he frequently got mad at her for her high school hijinks, he did the same things), things that she should know about her Papa, memories that will disappear if I don't write them down and shere them.
Anyway, holidays won't be the same but new memories and traditions can be implemented. I still have a few tree ornaments but each year purchase a few new ornaments, meaningful to me in some way so I have new memories when I put these ornaments on my tree alongside my old family ornaments.
Title: Re: Holiday Tips/Ideas/Articles
Post by: stampingwidow on December 21, 2012, 09:49:04 AM
The book Decembered Grief has helped me this Christmas.  Younger friends have helped a lot.  One family did my Christmas decorating, which was a job I was not ready for.  Their children made it a delight.  Another couple brought me a gift & baked goods.  I really dreaded this Christmas!  So far it has been okay.  Sure there are tears at times, but thanks to the group, I realize that they are to be expected.  It is all right to cry.  I have participated in something's & not in others.

It is your choice!  I have found that it is possible to have some joy in this season, if you let yourself.  Christmas can help you heal.  Be accepting of others efforts to be of help.  Sometimes they can actually help.  I am enjoying the tree even though I thought I did not want it this year.  Some good intentions backfire!  My son is making a huge effort to have Christmas at my mothers home(which he is moving into.). He does not realize that it will make me miss my parents & my husband.  Part of my gift to him & his family is letting them do this for me.  I need to realize he is still grieving too.  All any of us can do is do the best we can, remind our selves that it is only a day or two.  Try to get what joy you can from it but do not be surprised if it hurts.