Good Grief It’s Christmas Time

12 Helpful Tips to Help You Cope

Good Grief its Christmas time indeed. I’ve prepared these 12 tips to help you survive the holiday season. This is the last thing you want to be facing when you are grieving. I’m sure you just want to pull the covers up and go back to sleep until it is all over.  Even worse, the stores are in full-blown Christmas, mode.  Happy, smiling people on TV commercials every five minutes with familiar Carols on every radio station, it’s impossible to ignore the season. The countdown is on to party time, bright lights and having fun.

Normally, you too would be among friends and family enjoying the frantic beauty of the season. This year you are dreading the season, especially now you’ve experienced the loss of a loved one. My heart goes out to you. I know what it’s like to lose a loved one at this time of year.  Both my parents passed away in November. Even though it’s extremely difficult, you can survive the holidays. In this guide, I’ve listed several things that helped me to cope with my losses and it’s my hope these tips will help you, too.

1. Accept Where You Are. Just for now

If you’re experiencing grief, late November until the beginning of a new year can be very difficult. It’s a challenge for everyone to navigate, especially when you are grieving, it can feel like climbing a mountain. You may have noticed that your energy is low and it’s hard to get enthusiastic about anything during the holidays.

Everything seems like such a chore. You may find it’s hard to stay focused. These are all normal feelings for anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one. You may already dread facing the biggest holiday in the calendar year without that special someone. If you had your wish, you might just hibernate until Groundhog Day in February.

While hibernation may not be possible, choosing to skip the season with all the emotional triggers and potential pitfalls could be an option for you.

It is great that you have at least noticed your emotional state and for now, perhaps you could accept these feelings just for the moment? By not accepting how you are feeling and pushing through anyway, you may experience even more pain and anguish.

Just know it’s natural to have thoughts like “I have to be brave” or “It’s expected of me. I always host”, or “The house always looks so wonderful, how can I not participate this year?” These thoughts can send your flying into planning mode and then you may totally exhaust yourself long before the big day. You may even create arguments with family members or friends because you are frustrated, hurting and overwhelmed.

Grief work is exhausting and its main function is to stop us in our tracks so that we’ll take the time to deal with our emotions and reflect on our loss. In today’s fast-paced world this is a lovely dream but often it’s far from our reality.

Grief is about a broken heart and not a broken head. This is why we can, at times, push through using the sheer power of our minds. Your heart hasn’t caught up to your head. Your heart needs time to process. Your heart isn’t in the task so you will find yourself pushing yourself using sheer mind power – and this is exhausting. Instead of muscling through, stop, take a deep breath and settle your mind.

You may still be outwardly mourning and please know this is normal, most especially if your loss is a recent one. You want things to remain the same because there is comfort in routine. The feeling you are experiencing could be fear which can cause your resistance to the many inner changes brought about by a loss. Just know that by resisting you are holding on to the past, which is only natural. After all, who really enjoys change? However, accepting that there will be many changes may be helpful. Perhaps guilt is holding you back.

If you feel it doesn’t seem right that you should be enjoying yourself or even laughing and having fun when you’re loved one has just passed away please know this is normal. Many in grief have expressed the same sentiment. But if you think about it, wouldn’t your loved one want you to laugh and have fun? It is hard on the body to be constantly sad and grieving. Laughter is a way of balancing the body’s emotions. Give yourself this gift. Laugh when you feel like laughing. It will release some of the tension along with some natural endorphins.

Regardless of where you are in your grief process, perhaps this is the right moment to sit down and relax. Start by taking a few deep breaths in and out. Begin by sitting for at least five minutes. Find a quiet place with no distractions. This will bring your mind into the present moment and once it is focused there you can start to think more logically and plan how Christmas will look like for you and your family this year

2. Make your Christmas Season Plans

Have your calendar handy and look ahead at how you would like the holiday season to unfold. Armed with this information, you can move through the season with less pain and anguish.

If you always host Christmas dinner, decide if you want to continue to do so. Perhaps ask another family member take over just for this year. If that is too much change, then start by discussing your thoughts with other family members. They may be having similar thoughts and this way you can support each other through this tender time.

Consider Scaling Back

You may decide to scale down the decorations. Perhaps you would still enjoy this activity but on a much smaller scale. Decide if it will make you feel better or worse. Try to be honest with yourself and don’t feel guilty about whatever choice you make. You may decide to hold a decorating afternoon with a few family members a few weeks before Christmas day to help you from getting too overwhelmed or tired.

Once you have a better idea of what you would like, you will be able to start taking small action steps each day to make it a reality. You will know once you begin, just how much energy and desire you actually have. Know it is okay to tell the family if you are unable to do the tasks you thought you could do. Ask for help.

Should you decide to host, you could ask some family members to come early on Christmas day to help you with the meal preparation. Even better you could ask who would be willing to cook certain items of the meal. It may be hard to give up control of the meal this way but it is just for this year. Accept the additional help.

The hardest decision of all will be whether or not to set a place at the table where your loved one used to sit. Again it is much better to decide what you would prefer before the day. Discuss this concern with your family. Doing so will put you and your family members at ease. If you chose not to set a place, you may want to mention the deceased by name before the start of your dinner.

Your family may hold back from wanting to mention the person for fear of upsetting you. Don’t worry – mention them, it will be such a relief to you and your guests. The unspoken has now been spoken and everyone including you can relax.

3. Choose a New Tradition

As you plan for the holiday season, take time to recall if there was a specific thing you did with the person who has died. It may be this thought that is holding you back from wanting to make plans. Perhaps it was the tree you chose together or decorating the tree together. Recognizing the activity that made it special for you and your loved one will help you avoid a potential trigger point.

Allow yourself to feel this emotion and when you have finished, decide if there is a new tradition you could now create for yourself. Perhaps you could buy a readily dressed tree. This could help save you much time and energy.

Speaking from personal experience, going to the Candlelight service on Christmas Eve with my family was the tradition that held the most emotion. The year my Dad died I found the idea of attending the service just too emotional for me so we didn’t go.

Instead, we spent time relaxing rather than rushing our supper in order to get to the service. It turned out to be enjoyable and much more relaxing for us. We created a new tradition. So give yourself permission to try something different instead, something that will work for you.

4. Ask for Help

Much of this has already been covered however it bears repeating. When you are in grief, your energy is not optimal and you may find most things, even thinking, can exhaust you, especially if the loss is recent. Even after many years, the holidays can still hold emotional triggers so be kind to yourself, recognize your limitations and ask for help.

It is such a gift to those who have already volunteered when you do call on them for help. This is the perfect opportunity to do so. Make sure you ask them well ahead of time so as not to be disappointed. The holidays are a busy time for most of us, so, it is important to make your plans early in order to see just what help you need and who could potentially help you.

Accept and allow yourself to be helped. Receive it with an open heart. Too often we close people down by shutting out their offers of help. Give yourself an early gift and them also. Remember it isn’t always better to give. I am certain you have given help so many times that you have built up a giving balance by now – it is time to redeem it. Just for this year anyway.

5. Avoid the Sugar Highs and Lows

If you decide to attend Christmas parties over the holidays, please be careful with the sugary treats and alcohol (sugar). This is hard to do at the best of times but when you’re grieving you are already on an emotional roller coaster and adding more sugar, or alcohol, to your diet could make your emotions worse. Where your emotions are concerned, you do not need the additional sugar rush to help you peak on the highs or lows because you are already doing so. Mourning has enough ups and downs.

Instead, make sure you eat throughout the day and please do not think that by not eating during the day you can enjoy more food later. When a person is grieving the body needs fuel to keep you going so don’t shortchange yourself. If you aren’t able to eat much because you just are not hungry, be sure to go easy if you have a glass of wine or a cocktail. It is not a good idea to have alcohol on an empty tummy.

Remember to eat something before you have a drink. Make sure to keep your body hydrated by drinking water. In grief, the body requires more fluid due to all the tears that are flowing. If you do decide to drink alcohol, have a glass of water in between.

6. Remove the Pasted Happy Face

You may unknowingly put on a Happy Face to help yourself feel better or to help put others at ease. Please don’t force it. It doesn’t serve you but instead prevents you from truly feeling your emotions. A Happy Face is a mask and in many instances, people around you can tell what you are feeling just by your body language. Your face and body are giving two different messages. Being authentic and true to yourself will help you move through your grief process more easily. Masking your feelings only lengthens the process.

Remember:  the only way through grief is to feel it. When others ask you how you are it is much better to let them know you are not doing well. Be honest. There’s no need to elaborate but if they press you, it’s okay to let them know right now isn’t a good time and suggest another time, after the holidays, to talk.  On the other hand, if you feel like talking, express yourself. This way you’re acknowledging what you are feeling and not discounting what is going on inside.

I have found by recognizing what is coming up for me, acknowledging it and giving myself permission to cry later or tomorrow works nicely. This way I can schedule in some time by journaling or reflecting and allowing my emotions to bubble up. This is all part of good self-care

7. Decide to Speak About the Deceased?

The thought of mentioning the deceased’s name can be upsetting and you may not be comfortable doing so. Your family members and guests may be uncomfortable as well and not know how to deal with the subject. Speaking about the person first will help to put you and everyone else more at ease. You will be addressing the “elephant in the room”.

Acknowledge the deceased person and invite others to do the same. You may find you will hear more stories that you were not aware of and be happier for the sharing. It could be emotional, to begin with, however, it will help you the more times you can talk about your loss. My mum and I were never good at this and in the beginning, we both avoided mentioning Dad. As upsetting as it was for us, I am sure had we decided to talk about him we would have better comforted each other, instead of being mindful of not upsetting the other.

If you chose not to speak about your loss you may find yourself feeling ill at ease and on edge in case, their name is mentioned in the conversation. It is so much more freeing to share and allow yourself to be supported.

8. Going to Parties

This may be a good year to cut down on the number of parties you attend. As mentioned earlier, your energy levels will be lower than normal. This is why planning out what you would like to do this season will help you with these decisions. It’s ok to cancel; your hostess will understand. Do not feel obliged to attend because you agreed to months ago.

Decide if smaller parties would be more manageable. In my grief, I couldn’t attend the larger parties as the mere thought of large gatherings was too overwhelming. But smaller gatherings were more manageable and it felt good to go as it was a nice change of pace.

Often in grief, we can get caught up in the guilt of “I can’t enjoy myself right now. It isn’t right”. Sometimes a change of scenery and pace can do a world of good for boosting the spirits. If you decide to attend one or two perhaps by thinking ahead you could plan your exit strategy should you feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable.

You may decide to only spend a couple of hours and have a friend make sure to check on you at a specified time. Make sure to bring separate cars or book a taxi if needed. Speak to the hostess before the party and let her know you will attend but may need to leave early and coming to find her to thank her may not be an option. This way you can safely leave with no guilt.

9. Christmas Shopping

Christmas shopping is challenging enough even if you’re not grieving. Perhaps you are the organized one who shops all year for the perfect gift for your family and friends. However, too many of us, myself included, leave it to the last month or moment. This is another great opportunity to add shopping for gifts to your list of growing activities.

You may feel overwhelmed by the mere thought of it so if this is the case perhaps online shopping could be your answer. This way you are not using your precious energy to battle the crowds or parking lots.  Thank yourself for being aware of your feelings, take deep breaths. Have a cup of tea and start to plan your list of who you would like to buy for and what the gift idea may be. Go to your computer and start your shopping in peace.

Perhaps decide that you will take this opportunity to cut back and simplify your gift giving. This is what we did as a family when my Dad died. We introduced the idea of secret Santa and put a price limit on the gift. Our children are all young adults however, they are either starting out on their own or still at school so they never seem to have sufficient funds. This way we all only had one gift to buy, cutting down the stress financially and mentally thinking of and then purchasing the perfect gift for everyone.

One Christmas we decided to each name a charity and send money to them instead of gift giving. It is still lovely to have the gifts under the tree so we do both but keep it simple. I hope this will give you a few ideas.

10. Self-Care

You now have your plan, or at least, a much better idea of what action you can take each day. Don’t forget to add one action item in there for yourself. Self-care is so important and something we all need to focus on especially during times of grief.

Take time each day to do something fun for yourself. This can be as simple as a five-minute breathing exercise before your day begins, taking a walk in nature, reflecting over a cup of tea or coffee or all of the above. Scheduling in time to see your hairdresser, have a massage or pedicure can also do wonders for you.

When you are grieving, your energy is low and you will need to take care of your emotions. The urge to do nothing is always strong, however, it is essential to practice self-care each day together with some action steps. These simple actions will help you gain some control over your life and that will help to reinvigorate your confidence as you complete them.

Balance in everyday life is always a good way to live, however not easy to accomplish. This is even harder when you are grieving and are a part of the workforce. Finding ways to take care of yourself is even more essential and will help you better deal with your stress levels.

Ensure you practice doing something for yourself each day. You may feel you do not have the time, however, everyone needs a break. Take two minutes for yourself, close your eyes and slow your breathing down by taking three or four deep breaths. This alone can help you balance your stress. You may find you are more alert after you have taken a little time out.

11. Water is your friend

Drink plenty of water. This is so important especially in the early days when tears and weeping are more constant. Weeping takes more fluid from your body than you may realize. Our bodies work well on six to eight glasses of water and waiting until your thirsty is a sure sign you are dehydrated. Instead of reaching for more coffee, why not put the kettle on and have a cup of hot lemon water if you are not a fan of cold water.

If you need a sugar fix, add honey to the lemon water. Hot water with a slice of ginger can help warm you up. If you workout, you may need to add additional water just to keep your body working optimally. It is not only our bodies that require water our brains do as well. In grief, our brains can feel foggy so by not drinking enough, you could be adding to the brain fog.

Our brains cannot retain water so need a ready supply in the body to function optimally. Remember to drink and as a reminder, have a glass of water around your work area.

12. Give Yourself Permission

Congratulations! You have made it, you have your plan and you know what your holiday season and Christmas Day will look like. You have your list of who to call for help and you also have an idea of which holiday parties you would like to attend. The presents have been decided or you have a clearer idea of what your gift giving will be this year.

Now is the time to leave guilt and judgment at the door and give yourself permission to laugh and enjoy the season with your friends and family members. You will be relaxed and may even be looking forward to it instead of dreading it. You will have your wobbly moments but with your plan, you will have a way to take care of these moments. By planning ahead, you can be comfortable and relaxed knowing everything you have chosen for this year is taken care of and in good order.

One last thing:  something may not go according to plan. Relax, let go and enjoy the imperfect but perfect situation and laugh. You can’t control everything.

Happy Holidays to all

3 Acts to Practicing Forgiveness

3 Acts to Practicing Forgiveness

When we are no longer able to change a situation,

we are challenged to change ourselves.
Viktor Frankl

Acknowledging and Forgiving
We have reached that part in our journey; for it is possibly time for you, too, to accept the person has died. If we can’t yet accept it, we can at least acknowledge that it has happened and the person is not coming back. With acknowledgement we, too, must note we are being changed by grief. When we look back, which we will do in the next chapter, you will see just how much change and growth you have experienced. The old life you had, with its certain routines with your loved one, has now gone. That path has reached its end. With acknowledgement, you can now choose your new path and start to rebuild your life.

Acceptance versus Resistance
By not accepting our grief, we are, in fact, holding on to something that we cannot change. We become resistant. We hold on tighter and stop the natural flow of the grieving process. Instead of resisting it, we need to ask ourselves why we are avoiding it. Why and what purpose is this serving? It is in the asking where the answers can surface. The answer could be fear and guilt or fear of the future and what your life will be without the person, or guilt that you did not love the person enough because you associate moving on through grief with a lack of genuine love for the deceased.


Letting go off Resistance
It is not the person you are letting go of; it is all the negative thinking that goes with holding on to the grief. Imagine if you will that it is you who has died. Would you not want the person to move on and find happiness and joy for their life once again? Of course, you would; so why should you feel guilty about trying to move past the sadness?

It is completely the opposite; by letting go, you are actually showing greater love. You have trust and faith that your loved one will live on in your memories and they will not be forgotten. Letting go is letting go of the resistance. This is what keeps us stuck and prevents us from growing. Evolution has made us this way. We need to adapt to our ever-changing environment or we will become extinct and die, too.

Breathing through your Pain
We need to learn to breathe through our pain and not resist it. An old adage says, “what we resist persists.”How true it is. Birthing mothers receive instruction on how to breathe deeply and slowly and how to pant through the pain. When the contractions are at their strongest, the mother can use her breathing to go with each one and be in tune with the natural flow and rhythms of birth. To go against the flow with each contraction would only make them more painful. Just like a woman giving birth, if we resist the pain, it will persist and intensify. So, breathe through your resistance to find out what truly is holding you back.

Acts of Surrender can Free you
Acceptance and letting go of the resistance are actually acts of surrender. You are no longer fighting the flow of wanting to swim upstream. You can become peaceful in that moment. The fight to hold on has ceased. The act of surrender can free up all that energy that was being used to hold on. You will feel lighter and freer in doing so. Will you try it?

Acts of Forgiveness Heals
Sometimes you can accept things, but, at times, there is still something holding you back. It is called forgiveness. During our lives, the person who died may have said or done something that hurt us and now that they have left, there is no opportunity for them to apologize or for us to forgive them. Maybe they did not apologize because they never realized they hurt us. I know for many of you, perhaps forgiving them will not be acceptable to you, but for you to have closure, know forgiveness is part of the healing process. It is much harder to forgive someone for a transgression than to ask for an apology. I can ask because I know what it feels like to finally forgive someone. It also feels amazing to apologize for something that I may have done or said to them. It is like wiping the slate clean. It removes any traces of old, stuck pain which can then free you.

Acts of Choice – sets you on a New Path
Forgiveness is another way in which we can make peace with the past. We have all said or done things that we wish we had not. The good news is that it is never too late to forgive or apologize. The best part is that you never have to say it in person. By choosing to forgive another is another way of letting go of what you think should or should not have happened. It does not mean that you condone their behaviour or actions. It means that you are no longer going to remain a victim, a victim to your thoughts or beliefs. Forgiveness is a decision to let go of anger, resentment, and thoughts of revenge. Forgiveness can assist you in not holding on. For holding on to grudges can lead to strokes, kidney disease, heart failure and even death.

I got to see this firsthand. My dad held onto grudges. He had kidney problems and did die of heart failure and cancer. For that reason alone, I am choosing to forgive on a daily basis!

Practicing Forgiveness in 10 Words

I am using the Hawaiian Forgiveness Prayer Ho’oponopono. For more information on this simple prayer’s power, please see Joe Vitale’s book that he co-authored with Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len called Zero Limits.

There are four phases to it:
I’m sorry
Please forgive me
Thank you
I love you

You can say them in any order, but Vitale believes in saying them silently to the Divine (of your understanding) is the best way.

Do you want to be right or Happy?

Perhaps if Dad had realized the powerful hold his grudges had on him and the damage they were doing to his body, he may have opted to forgive everyone. Again, do you want to be right or be happy?

Remember these words
“Father forgive them, for they know what they do” – Happy Easter

Let’s Talk about Grief …….

Let’s Talk about Grief …….

“Without Death there would be no Butterflies – Let your Grief Transform You”

My Mission
I’m on a mission to bring grief out of the closet so you and others can understand it is nothing to fear, and once understood, to accept it for it is a natural part of life and being human. Grief comes in many shapes and sizes, and is woven into the fabric of society’s existence. Still we avoid it, and do what we can to control our lives in order not to feel its pain too deeply. Typically, we associate Our Grief in response to a death. However, grief can also occur when we have lost something of importance. Because we are programmed for survival, pain and suffering were meant to be avoided at all cost. As a result, we have become a society that is adverse to a very natural part of life and that is death.

You and I recognize that, yes, we will die but that is in the future. “Right now I need to live,” I hear you say…you want to search out only things that will bring pleasure, happiness or joy. Experiencing anything less makes life not worth living. I am here to suggest that it is in knowing and understanding how to grieve that loosens the fear that holds you back from truly living.

Small Practice Steps
This is why life has given us smaller losses to practice on for they will teach us how to deal with the largest loss of all – a death. Very often it is not the death itself that affects the immensity of grief we feel, it can often be we are feeling and being asked to heal all those other “little losses” we ignored and buried as we went through life.

How many of you recite affirmations as I do negating anything bad or negative you may be feeling or thinking? Sometimes we need to feel our emotions and not affirm them away. If there were no death, there would be no butterflies. In a similar way, if there were no sadness or grief how would we know and appreciate happiness and joy?

3 Day Grief Ritual
I recently read a book called The Healing Wisdom of Africa by author Dr. Patrice Somé. He writes that when someone in his home village is not in their joy, then grief has crept in to visit. If one person is affected then the whole village is affected. Its people drop whatever they are doing and participate in a three- day ritual to release the grief that has settled. Each participant is accompanied and no one goes into their grief alone. After three days, everyone returns to the village to carry on with their lives, feeling happy that their joy has returned. Who knew that grieving could take three whole days? It makes you wonder how we are expected to deal with and heal our grief when our funeral rituals last one to two hours? Many are expected then to return to their work and lives.

Making Peace with Grief
The question isn’t, how do we grieve, it is how can we not?  Perhaps you have grown up with parents who were uncomfortable with their emotions and who did not allow your emotions to flow. Our understanding of death and not being fearful of it lies with accepting our emotions and recognizing their connection to our thoughts. Our emotions flow through us one by one. Often we don’t notice them unless we think of something that literally interrupts us and makes us feel anger or sadness. We never stop long enough to ask why we are feeling a certain way. Our emotions recede in the background until something like a death occurs – the grand interruption! Then we are stopped in our tracks and have no choice but to face them. In our grief, each emotion will come to visit, sometimes alone or all together leaving us breathless, off balance and in pain. Understandably, we may be frantic and unsure of how to cope with the intensity.

GPS -Map-Plan – Your tools for the Grief Journey
Rather than waiting until a death occurs, wouldn’t it be kinder for us to understand what to expect? To gain an appreciation of grief’s purpose? I have found when I understand something, the fear surrounding it lessens.How many of you can say you know what to expect when death shows up? What will it feel like? Will I cope with grief’s emotions? Because we are afraid, we cannot face up to what is in front of all of us. This is why I suggest “let’s talk about it”. In this way you lessen fear’s grip on death. You can allow yourself to go deeper into the understanding of life ending and experience the growth that can occur from this personal exploration.

No one would think of visiting a place they’d never been without first researching it and making travel plans. They would take along their GPS or trusty map. Death is no different; it is a journey we all must take and it is in the surrendering that we can ultimately reduce the painful feelings that surround grief. However, so few have a road map or GPS of grief’s terrain.

As a grief guide/coach and author, I offer you “Grief’s Abyss, Finding your Pathway to Peace”, my road map for grief experienced through a death. Here I guide you through the twists and turns as you journey through grief and transition from heartache to happiness. The book is now available at Singing Pebble bookstore (Ottawa) or on  For more information go to



It’s Valentine’s Day – head to the hills.   If this is your first thought?

It’s Valentine’s Day – head to the hills. If this is your first thought?

What about….. To Thine own Self be True – Be your own Valentine!

Vintage of pink tree heart shape ,paper art texture

Vintage of pink tree heart shape ,paper art texture

When you are in love, who doesn’t love Valentine’s Day? Perhaps you have become jaded and don’t need a special day to remind you of the one you love. It may be you are alone this year with no special person in your life? Perhaps the person you loved has died and this day is one of those commercial reminders of what you have lost?

Regardless of your circumstance it is yet another painful time of the year. It is as if the world becomes coloured in red – the colour of love and everywhere you look is just a constant reminder of your relationship status. Yes, it is easy for you to start to berate yourself and tell yourself that you are not worthy of love, not good enough or any other old story that you have told yourself repeatedly.

Too often you can focus on what isn’t right in your life or what you are lacking way too much that it can become a self fulfilling prophecy. Instead, focus on what you can do to change your circumstances. What would you like your life to look like? It is when you do the inner work instead of always looking for the lack in your outer world; can you connect to yourself, be your own best friend, mentor and take care of your own needs and desires. Fall in love with yourself. Make this day about getting to know you again. What do you really enjoy doing and plan accordingly. Love flowers – buy your own and enjoy being able to do so. Have a romantic meal just for one. Take your time and eat it slowly savoring each mouthful. Put on the music, dance and have fun.

When you focus on yourself and can be happy for no other reason than being; then you will find your energy changes and you can naturally attract that special someone. Chances are you will be in a different space. Sometimes it is when you don’t need a relationship that you find yourself in one – effortlessly.

If the person you loved has died, this day is nothing more than a painful reminder of what you had. It is harder for you to look for another love relationship too quickly and chances are you will not wish to. Instead look to the happy memories you created to see what it was that you enjoyed about those moments. Cry, and know this is very healing. It is when you force yourself to be brave and do what others expect of you that you are denying yourself the opportunity to heal. No need to be brave. So take the time you need on Valentine’s Day to celebrate and remember the special someone who is no longer in your life. Visit the graveside and mourn. Then take time to do what you would enjoy doing. Crying and being sad is fine for the moment but acknowledge how you are feeling, let it pass and find something to laugh about. It is the laughter than can help to change your thoughts which will help raise your energy.

Just for today – Be your own Valentine – spoil yourself!

Reflections After Father Dies – A Daughter’s Tale

Reflections After Father Dies – A Daughter’s Tale

photo credit: gidovd via photopin cc

photo credit: gidovd via photopin cc

When Father Dies

It doesn’t matter how old you are when a parent dies, the pain of not having them in your life is just as great regardless of age.  That small child each of us carries within, cannot imagine a life without their parents.  When one dies you get a glimpse of your new reality.  This can bring about many fears and wonderment about how you will cope without them in your life.

With the death of our fathers, we do now have to grow up.

Key Points:
1. Fathers as role models for future men in our lives?
2. The beliefs we learn unconsciously from them
3. Fathers as the roots for the family

Our Role Models

Whatever the relationship with our fathers was, good, bad or darn right ugly, they were the first men in our lives. They were the ones who unconsciously would teach us about love. If like me your father was distant, you may spend your life attempting to be validated for who you are or to be noticed at least. When these needs are not fulfilled by our fathers, we later seek them to be met by our boyfriends. Then by our husbands. These males were our first role models whether we like it or not.

Roots & Beliefs

Fathers are the roots of the family, they keep their family safe and together. They were the breadwinners, the sole providers for their families (well in the 1950’s). These men are the ones we will forever model our future relationships after.

Now for the first time in our lives, we are without them. We now have to grow up and become the adult child our bodies show us to be. This takes time and we have to face all kinds of fears in the interim.

Relationship with Father

My relationship with my father was not a close one until near the end. At times he was silent, distant, or moody, making him quite difficult to read or get to really know. His dislikes were my boyfriends and spending money. I discovered many of my beliefs came from him, such as “hard work never hurt anyone and money certainly didn’t grow on trees”! Dad, however, had many loves. Art brought him joy, he’d spend hours drawing and painting. He even dabbled in photography. He was a drummer and could play classical guitar too. If I were to show an interest in any of these pursuits he would go off and return with a book or make an effort to show me how. Of course, I was never really that interested or just too busy raising my family to really get interested to learn what he wanted to teach me.

My Father, My Teacher

It wouldn’t be until the Christmas following his death when my husband bought me a full painting set did I really realize the error of my ways. For the moment I decided to paint, I realized I didn’t know how and of course I wished I had taken the time to learn from him. It may even have brought us closer sooner.

He did have a sense of humor when he wanted to and would entertain guests at many a New Year’s house parties at our home. He enjoyed those but hated dances, crowds or even to have fun well to me it seemed. However, he did have fun in his own solitary way, he enjoyed the simple things in life that’s all.

He had always been there for me I have to admit for advice and support. He was my oak tree but then his roots weakened and like all weakened trees they fall over. So sadly did he. Suddenly and really with no warning but if our eyes had of been wide open we would have seen the signs long before. Like everything unpleasant in life, we chose to ignore them and by doing so it would make it all go away.

I had to grow up that day. Something I didn’t want to do because at that moment he handed the reigns over to me, his eldest daughter. There was after all his wife, my mother to now look after.

Fortunately for me, we still have the heart of the family, our mother. Ever so slowly the large hole left by father has begun to fill in once more as we move on with our lives and onto a new one, one that doesn’t for the first time include him.

Not all Relationships are Loving

Of course, not everyone’s relationship with their Father is a loving one.  Many women can fall into guilt if they feel thankful and relieved at news of their Father’s death or fall into despair over who will love them now?  The loss of a parent can throw your life into disarray, you feel unable to cope, lack energy unable to make decisions even.  That was me many years ago, I couldn’t find answers as to why or what was going on with me so I decided to go on my own journey. I sought the support of a coach who helped me get my life together again.  I even wrote a book that I would have found helpful during my time with grief.  This was my father’s legacy and now I guide other’s through their grief.  You don’t have to suffer in silence or alone – reach out, please?

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