Coping With Grief at the Holidays: The Role of Tradition, Ritual, and Continuing Bonds
The holiday season is often a mix of stress and heightened emotion for people grieving the death of a loved one. We probably don't need to convince you this is true, but just in case, here are a few of the many challenges grievers face during the holiday season.
- Reminders of deceased loved ones seem everywhere.
- Tradition and ritual often have to change.
- Pressures and anxiety about participating in and planning the present holiday are often high.
- Everyone else seems to be in a festive holiday mood, which sometimes makes people not feeling that way feel isolated and alone.
- Fears that the holidays will never be happy or pleasant again can cause a sense of hopelessness and loss.
In this webinar, we'll discuss important considerations for coping with the holidays including:
- Planning ahead for difficult days
- Thinking through changing roles and tradition
- Coping with painful reminders
- Creating new ritual and tradition that honors deceased loved ones
- The role of continuing bonds in coping with grief at the holidays.
What is continuing bonds?
In 1996, the authors of the book Continuing Bonds: New Understandings of Grief shed light on a significant bereavement concept. Their work questioned linear models of grief that are supposed to lead to things like acceptance, detachment, and new life and suggested that it's normal for the bereaved to continue their bond with the deceased. Continuing bonds is always an important concept. However, it may be especially relevant on special days when people acutely feel their loved one's absence and long to connect with them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hello, we are Litsa and Eleanor, the co-founders of the website, What's Your Grief. Thank you for joining our online learning community. We hope some of what you find here will help you understand grief an grief coping a little bit better.
We are what we like to refer to as 'grief friends.' We both have backgrounds in mental health and plenty of experience working in the field of grief and bereavement. But what we ultimately bonded over was our shared experience of losing a parent to cancer in early adulthood. All our webinars and online courses are based on the ideas and information we've found most helpful in our personal grief, and in our daily work with grieving people.
We teach all our webinars and courses, so we should probably tell you, we prefer to talk about grief and loss in realistic and regular ways. If you're looking for transformative butterflies and sympathetic head tilts, I'm afraid you've come to the wrong place. Sometimes we're serious, and sometimes we joke, sometimes we're matter of fact, and sometimes we're philosophical. No matter what, though, we believe your experience with grief should always be recognized and respected, not patronized.