“Although it is difficult today to see beyond the sorrow, may looking back in memory help comfort you tomorrow.” - Anonymous
As Christmas approaches and I rush around chasing my tail, wondering if I will ever get on top of everything, I remember my own childhood and in particular how my father made Christmas so very special. He was the only one to remain calm and collected throughout the Christmas season, making the most of last minute shopping, friends and family dropping in and the joy of having us around him. Now that he has passed, I try to keep his memory alive, especially at this time of year, and simply make the time to enjoy a celebration which only comes once a year and which I feel should be treasured for so many reasons.
For many, memories of loved ones fill our thoughts at this time of year, and for some the sadness of the loss of a loved one is particularly difficult. One of the most important things to remember is that no two people experience loss in the same way, and initially simply being with the person without saying anything shows them how much you care.
For my mother, the death of my father from dementia related illnesses was a little easier to bear as I felt she had already mourned his loss. However, the need to talk was very apparent, as his death released a floodgate of emotions which she had always held in check. With the floodgate opened the healing process for her was more bearable.
Talking through feelings of grief is not easy and takes time and patience for all those involved. Once started, the mourning process can begin and once again this varies from person to person. There will always be good days and bad days, and these are the times when a network of family and friends are of most benefit.
Coming to terms with the absence of the lost person and the finality of the loss can be discussed with empathetic questions such as: “What has been happening since the loss?” Or “How have things been with you and your family and friends?” It is so important to keep moving forward.
Acceptance may take a long time, as many things such as a smell, familiar song or favourite hobby are all triggers. From my own experience, there will always be triggers, memories that creep up on me when I least expect it, but mostly, I see him in the beauty of the flowers he so loved, hear him in the songs he used to sing (badly) and hold him close in my heart, where he will always be alive.