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Hope for the Holidays

Caring For You, Caring For Them

by Marie Slayton


Grief is so difficult to deal with, and this is especially true during the holiday season. Time may feel as if it is revolving around a still axis. Traditions may be changed, or feel changed due to the absence of your loved one. Days may feel cold and nights long. However, there is so much joy in which to participate. The Dalai Lama has pointed out that by creating peace and love in our own hearts, we create peace and love in the world.

Interestingly, when we care for ourselves during a grief journey, we care, also, for the loved one we have lost. This can be a lofty but fulfilling and incredibly beneficial process. Living a life of self-love means living a life of acceptance, a life filled with the glorious recognition of the bountiful love that permeates the whole of the universe. Our lost loved one is still somehow, part of that universe and participating in love is a way to continue loving the lost loved one.

Caring actions can be simple and they can be complex. However, most great things begin with simple concepts.

  • GO ON, FEEL JOY! Allow yourself to feel some joy, however small, without guilt. Give yourself permission. Truly, by caring for yourself, you care for your lost one and their memory. Start with an affirmation. You could try something very simple such as, "By caring for myself I care for my loved one."
  • GETTING A LETTER THROUGH! Sanctifying the memory of the loved one you have lost can be very important when you are moving on. Often, a feeling of guilt arises when you decide to move on? You might want to try writing a letter to your loved one explaining to them how you are feeling, what you are doing with your season. Explain to them that you are moving on yet you are moving on with love and reverence. If you are so inclined, try reading or writing seasonal poem.
  • PICTURE YOUR LOVE! "How can I let this memory go," you might ask yourself. How can I just move on? Remember that, in life, moving on is part of everything we do. In the grief journey, it is more so. Consider making a picture frame and then mounting a nice picture in it. The creation of things counteracts the death of things.

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