Guest Post: The Best Ways to Cope with Loss this Holiday Season by Julie Loos

I dislike change. There, I said it; I’m a creature of habit. Any kind of loss means I will need to rearrange and start a new habit.

I know change can be good, but I want to be pain and frustration free. I’ll take easy and beneficial change, but I’ll leave anything that’s hard behind.

The season of Fall is one of my most disliked seasons. I don’t like the warmer weather turning colder, the kids being back in school and the sun setting earlier every day.

It’s a period of so much loss and finding a new normal.

Coping with An Empty Chair this Holiday

Within this season we have two major Holidays: Thanksgiving and Christmas. The last few years, these days have signified a change in our family. The death of a few key family members has changed the dynamics of these times.

What used to be joyous times, now has a hint of sadness.

Our expectations are turned upside down, and now we need to adapt. Routines and rituals are different, and the atmosphere of the family has changed.

Thanksgiving and Christmas will never be the same again.

Seeing the kids open gifts from their grandma, my grandma’s homemade rolls and Tom’s sarcastic humor are all memories that will linger on in our minds, but we will miss their physical presence.

It feels like the glue that held the family together is now rubbed off. I’m not even sure if our extended family will ever get together again for the Holidays.

Coping with Loss During the Holidays

What about you? Is there an empty chair at your Holiday table? While others are having a Norman Rockwall holiday, do you find this wonderful time of the year, quite frankly, heartbreaking?

So how do we move forward and find a new normal in the midst of hard change?

People respond to difficult change in one of two ways:

*They accept the change, grieve over it and then use it as a way to grow. These people target on looking upward and outward because where you focus is key to getting through tough times.

*Others become bitter, depressed and lose all hope. Their focus is all about themselves and their situation, so they get stuck sinking deeper into despair.

Loss Can Become New Growth

As Christ followers, we need to look at this type of change as a way of growth. We experience sadness and grieve but then slowly accept God’s way. Loss can be a way to open our hearts to encourage others suffering loss and move us to share the Good news more readily.

(Matthew 5:4, NLT)

4 God blesses those who mourn,

    for they will be comforted.

There is always Hope when we believe in Christ.

8 Ways to Embrace the Holidays in the Midst of Loss

  1. Understand your new normal will look and feel different
  2. Pray for comfort
  3. Bring familiar rituals back into your celebration
  4. Accept the tears and sadness as a way of grieving
  5. Share stories about your loved one
  6. Host the event at a different place
  7. Start a new tradition
  8. Practice self-care

If this is the first year of the Holidays coping with loss, extend yourself grace. This new change is hard, and you have every right to grieve and be sad. Don’t let yourself stay down though, ask for God’s help to comfort you and give you hope.

God will bring you through and comfort you this Holiday season.

I’m learning to embrace change both good and bad as the medium for growth. As long as I keep my focus upward and outward, I can journey through any change or loss.

Praying for you as you embrace this new normal this Holiday season!

There is no way around grief only through. Know that you are in the hands of God and you are never alone. ~Mary Davis

 

I’m Julie. Writer, Jesus follower, wife, and mother to five incredible kids. Sweet tea and chocolate are my favorites. I struggle with my faith, and I’m a work in progress. When we look back over the footprints of our journey, God will start unmasking the hard places. Joy and wonder will fill us because there was meaning in the mess for us.

Blog: unmaskingthemess.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/unmaskingthemess/
Twitter: @juliealoos
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14 Replies to “Guest Post: The Best Ways to Cope with Loss this Holiday Season by Julie Loos”

  1. It can be such a challenge to adjust to new normals when they weren’t something you wanted! My younger brother died while I was in high school, and it forever changed our family dynamics. It took many, many years for the family to make it through without lots of tears. Blessings to you as you work through the emotion, and may your greatest comfort come in Christ.

  2. Julie these are great ways to cope. We lost my brother-in-law four years ago to a motorcycle accident so the holidays are hard for my husband’s family. I think this post would be beneficial for me to pass along. Thank you Emily for bringing us Julie’s words.

  3. I am aware that I am extremely blessed to not have this pain, yet. That being said, I find your list helpful! I believe it can be applied to a many number of changes. I especially love your advice on seeing the situation with fresh perspective…understanding and accepting what the new “normal” looks like. >>> “I’m learning to embrace change both good and bad as the medium for growth.” Powerful! This allows God to work in our hearts and lives. I pray all find comfort in this season and all seasons; that God show His mighty hand in everything that comes our way. <3

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