The holidays can be a magical time with friends and family, but they can also be difficult when one of those treasured loved ones is no longer with us. Whether the loss is recent or some time has passed, you may experience a sudden rush of sadness when remembering your deceased loved one during the holidays.
While some try to avoid discussing their loss, remembering deceased loved ones in holiday traditions keeps their memory alive and can be a balm for a mourning heart. Here are few ideas for how to create holiday rituals to honor your deceased loved ones during the holidays.
Light a Candle
There are a couple ways you can use candles to remember a deceased loved one during the holidays. Some families will purchase a special candle that is lit throughout the holiday season as a reminder that their loved one is still present in their hearts. Others will light a single candle before a special meal, saying a prayer or sharing a memory of their loved one.
In the Jewish faith, there are four times throughout the year that a Yahrzeit Candle is lit in memory of deceased loved ones: the first night of Yom Kippur, the 8th night of Sukkot, the 2nd night of Shavuot, and the final night of Passover.
Hang a Special Ornament
Purchase a new ornament that reminds you of your deceased loved one to hang on your tree each year in their memory. Alternatively, you can give their favorite ornament from past years a special place of honor on the tree.
Make a Donation in their Name
If your deceased loved one had a cause close to their heart, you can make a donation in their memory to a charity that shares their ideals.
In addition to charities, many places of worship accept donations to light a candle or place flowers in memory of a deceased parishioner.
Hang a Stocking
It can be very hard to not see a loved one’s stocking hanging in its usual spot on the mantle. Instead, consider hanging your loved one’s stocking with care and then invite family members to write notes, stories, or little prayers that can be tucked into the stocking as a personal remembrance.
Moment of Silence
If your family has a special holiday meal, you can include a moment of silence at the start of the meal in memory of deceased loved ones. Some families even set a plate for recently deceased loved ones to include them in the holiday celebration.
Whatever you decide to do, know that it is normal to feel grief around the holidays. Many of Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care’s locations will hold special grief support groups throughout the next month to provide extra support to those in mourning. Please call 1-888-563-3405 to ask about holiday grief support groups in your area.
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