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Covid19 Holiday Grief Support

Can you believe it’s Halloween and soon Thanksgiving and Christmas. What a whirlwind year 2020 has been–hard to believe we’ve been dealing with this Pandemic for 7 months now. Admittedly, some days it feels like years, but in other ways I feel like I’m still in denial–hoping to wake up one day realizing it was just a bad dream–NOT! And as we press forward, I know we all continue to grieve our losses in many regards–so much has and will continue to change toward our new normal.

In addition, as the Holidays draw near, now the CDC is recommending minimal gatherings outside our current Covid19 bubble–celebrating virtually when possible. And even though we are so thankful for the technology that allows us to connect this way–we grieve for what used to be. And if we have experienced additional losses, like my mother’s death, grief holds an even deeper meaning at this time.

In a card from a friend of mine, I was blessed to receive a “Griever’s Holiday Survival Bill of Rights” from SSM Health at Home by Bruce Conley that I feel could be very appropriate and helpful for these grieving times:

You have the right to say, TIME OUT anytime you need to let up, blow a little steam, step away from the holidays, have a “huddle” and start over.

You have the right to TELL IT LIKE IT IS. When people ask, “How are you?” you have the right to tell them how you really feel, not just what they want to hear. You also have the right to smile and say you’re fine, because telling them how you really feel isn’t worth your time–some people will never understand anyway.

You have the right to some BAH HUMBUG DAYS. You don’t have to be happy all the time. You are not a bad person just because you don’t feel the holiday spirit all the time.

You have the right to DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY. There’s no law that says you must do the holidays the same way.

You have the right to BE WHERE YOU WANT TO BE. Be at home or walking in a park–as long as safety is paramount.

You have the right to SOME FUN! When you have a day that isn’t so bad and you feel like doing something just for fun, then do it! Don’t be afraid of what someone else will say if they see you laughing and having a good time. Laughter is every bit as important as tears.

You have the right to CHANGE DIRECTION IN MIDSTREAM. Holiday grief is unpredictable. You may be all ready to go somewhere or do something and suddenly be overwhelmed. When that happens, it’s okay to change your mind. There’s plenty of time in life to be predictable. Exercise your right to change when you need to.

You have a right to DO THINGS AT DIFFERENT TIMES. Go to church at a different time. Serve your meals at a different time. Give up and go to bed at a different time. Don’t be a slave to the clock.

You have a right to REST, PEACE, and SOLITUDE. You don’t need to be busy all the time. Take a nap whenever you need one. Take time to pray and meditate, to recharge your spirit. It may do you much more good than eating another huge meal.

You have the right TO DO IT ALL DIFFERENT AGAIN NEXT YEAR. Just because you change things one year, try on something different, does not mean you have written it in stone. Next year you can always change it back or do it in yet another new way.

Even though I have written often about the importance of GRATITUDE–it certainly bares repeating at this juncture, so I’m adding this note: we have the right to feel and show gratitude since a grateful perspective is critical to sustain our positive attitude—to energize, to heal, and to bring hope. Positive psychology research demonstrates that positive emotions, including gratitude, promote health and wellness, builds stronger immune systems, are more stress-resistant, complain less about aches and pains, have lower blood pressure, exercise more, take better care of themselves, sleep better and feel more refreshed on waking. Pretty amazing cheap holistic medicine for us all.

Some more Covid19 Humor: Just by seeing how some folks wear their masks (or not), I now fully understand why contraception fails–just sayin!

Let’s show our love for others by wearing our mask, Warriors!