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Old 12-02-2012, 04:56 PM
 
Location: New York State, USA
142 posts, read 203,154 times
Reputation: 173

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I am having a hard time dealing with the Christmas season. I know it's just beginning, but certain songs just bring back memories. I find myself freezing in elevators, or even grocery stores, when I here these songs. I keep seeing people who have passed and it makes me so sad. Does anyone have suggestions as to how to get through the holidays without crying?
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Old 12-02-2012, 05:14 PM
 
Location: SWFL
21,483 posts, read 18,184,307 times
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I just tune out and deliberatly don't listen to the canned music. I "busy" my mind with other things. Anything. I shut myself off from "relating" lot of things to Earl so I don't fall apart unexpectedly. I try to have a "tight grip" on myself at all times until bedtime and then cry.
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Old 12-02-2012, 07:10 PM
 
Location: Olympia, WA
363 posts, read 406,051 times
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I agree with tami. If you let yourself get too sentimental at the moment, you will most surely break down; at least that is my experience.

I also hate the holidays and just can't wait to get through them. I recognize the true meaning of Christmas and disregard all the commericialism. And now that I am alone, everything is just compounded.

I don't really want to be this way.....it's just the way it is.

tngirl
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Old 12-02-2012, 07:12 PM
 
Location: Philaburbia
31,223 posts, read 57,391,367 times
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It's not easy, and sometimes I just excuse myself from the holiday hoopla. Mostly I go through the motions -- decorate the house, put up a tree, bake cookies and breads -- and alternately try not to think about how much fun the holidays were when my spouse was alive.
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Old 12-02-2012, 07:44 PM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic
22,767 posts, read 21,823,917 times
Reputation: 27840
Well, I was just thinking about what I was going to say... and then I started crying. I guess I'm not going to be of much help.

Really, I try to steel myself against these things. It pretty much what tamiznluv said. Just try to tune it out and go about your business. That said, I was ambushed by a song just days ago. It's not a holiday song so I wasn't expecting it. I was in a restaurant and I went outside and paced for a couple of minutes until I was sure that it had ended. I went home, pulled the song up on YouTube and listened to it about 30 times. Desensitization can work. Having a good cry helps.
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:44 PM
 
1,627 posts, read 2,640,831 times
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I know for me this holiday season is a rough one. I wish us all the best during this season without our love ones.
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:55 PM
 
Location: Mammoth Lakes, CA
3,089 posts, read 6,639,976 times
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My mom passed away in July and this will be my first-ever Christmas without her. I am dealing with it by not putting up a Christmas tree, lights or thinking much about the event. I'm trying to pretend the holiday season is not approaching and it's just an ordinary time of year.This works for me to some extent. I still take comfort in listening to the Christmas songs I listened to thousands of times with her. It makes me melancholy and sad, but it also brings me a sort of comfort as well.

Whatever works for you to any small degree, do it. It's not easy for any of us dealing with the grief, but I do believe that time eventually heals all wounds. Even the death of a cherished loved one.
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:38 AM
 
Location: 900 miles from my home in 80814
4,674 posts, read 6,751,690 times
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We were already scaling down our holiday celebrations before my husband died as we were empty nested and the kids were all over the U.S., not able to visit us as they wanted their kids to have Christmas in their own homes...very understandable...so when he died unexpectedly at the end of October, I went numb to the Holidays. My youngest son moved back home to help me through the fog and grief, so he put up our (fake) tree, and I decorated the house with all the famililar things, but my mind was was somewhere else.

That year, I just ignored the hype of the holiday and all the feel good family scenes in ads on TV, the malls, anywhere there was music or decorations because it hurt too much. I shopped online for the grandkids, but I couldn't wait for Christmas to be over.

It gets easier, but it's still the most difficult time of the year. Time does make a difference, and this year I am looking forward to decorating, as my neighbors are beginning to put up lights, and I want to be a part of that. Everyone deals with grief differently, so they deal with holidays differently. Do what feels right for you, and never, ever let anyone guilt you into doing anything you don't want to do. It's okay to take the holidays off if you need to.
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:07 AM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 65,336,261 times
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I have found that creating new traditions can help for some folks.

For example, instead of being a guest at someone else's Christmas Day dinner (or Christmas Eve festivities) . . . this year, volunteer at a soup kitchen in your area. That puts you into an entirely different environment and no one asks questions.

Or, take off and go some place by yourself . . . to a nice resort, for example (not just a hotel in the middle of nowhere!). . . and use the time to do something you enjoy, such as reading a good book, taking walk, photographing the sights . . . go into it thinking this is a bittersweet time - your loved one is not with you, but you have great memories and you are bringing them along in your heart - for a new adventure.

Just do something different. Whatever it is that you have done in the past . . . don't do it this year. Don't pull out the sentimental Christmas decorations if you put up a tree. Instead, cover it with ribbons, or tiny birds - something that will lift your spirit.

Got some extra cash? Always wanted to do midnight mass at a cathedral someplace? DO IT!!!!

Don't have extra cash? Seek out a church in your area where you have never attended and go to their services in the coming weeks. If it is a big church, maybe no one will even notice you. Or maybe they will - and since you don't know them, they will get to know you not as part of a couple, but just as yourself. If they ask if you are married, you can tell them you are a widow/er, or you can say - "it's just me these days!" Whatever makes you feel comfortable and helps you establish your own identity.

I have heard others say that it helps them to talk about their spouse to others . . . and I also know those who want to be able to make that leap to a new identity - where they do not have to talk about their deceased spouse or loved one - and are simply accepted as themselves within a group. It all depends on what you are emotionally feeling like at that point.

Another volunteer idea . . . hospitals often have a corps of volunteers who help out in various areas. One hospital has volunteers who come in and rock the preemie babies and help feed them. Who knows what your hospital may have going on? Check it out!

There comes a time when the memories no longer overwhelm and bring us to tears . . . instead, we can quietly remember them and even smile! Getting to that place is such an individual journey. Perhaps taking that first step in a new situation will be exactly what you need. We can't help but feel wistful and reminisce about the lovely times in the past and having someone dear to share them with. Those are solid, cherished, untarnishable memories. But they are not the end of the precious days in your life. They are the foundation and something to hold onto - and they can be added to, as well.

Sometimes, our friends and family members believe they are compensating by making sure we are busy, busy, busy during Christmas. They will even try to make us feel we are making bad decisions if we say - "I really want to by alone this year" or "I am going to try something new this time." If you have a yearning in your heart to be alone with your grief in the sense of experiencing it in a positive way (great memories!) and you want to just drink in a new environment (spa weekend!) . . . DO IT. When people ask "OH MY. How can you not be with us at Christmas/New Year's" - just tell them - you need some ME time.

Yes, folks may think you have flipped your lid if you book a cruise to the Caribbean for Christmas. They might think you are overcompensating if you plan on volunteering at a soup kitchen on Christmas Day. You should not have to explain yourself to anyone. Don't get put on that trip! You can't get put a mind trip unless you buy the ticket and board the Mind Trip Train, lolololol.
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:23 AM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 65,336,261 times
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I wanted to add something about "holiday music." Yes, this can trigger a lot of deep feelings . . . the way I have coped w/ that is to make a playlist of my top favorite holiday songs. None of the rest of them "count." If I hear the exact song by that particular musician (for ex., Karen Carpenter singing "Merry Christmas, Darling") . . . then I think - okay, that is like a sign from my loved one.

This way, all the songs I hear while shopping or out and about are "heard" in an analytical way. I attach no importance to them b/c they are not THE songs that represent something special between me and my loved one. Then, if I do hear one of THE SONGS ON THE LIST, I can enjoy it and it makes me smile to think the universe provided me with a few moments of enjoyment in memory of my loved one.

Maybe that won't help anyone else, but it sure has worked for me.
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