Deborah Rivlin, Education Director at TCR, shares her thoughts on grief and the holiday season.

The holiday season can be an especially tough time for those who are grieving.

candle and memory stones

Some families choose to remember a family member who has died by lighting a candle in their memory.

We are all triggered in our losses at different times for different reasons, and this time of year can bring back many memories.

With so many traditions and expectations surrounding the holiday season, the loss of an important person in your life may be felt even more intensely. As our calendars fill up with activities and gatherings, it’s important to give ourselves permission to do what feels right for ourselves and our families.

Instead of dreading the holidays, you can plan ahead and choose a meaningful way to incorporate the memory of the person who died.

Perhaps your family wants to keep all of the same traditions and remember the person who died by hanging up their stocking or placing flowers or a candle at their place at the table.

Or maybe you decide you would like to do something different, like taking a trip or beginning new family traditions. Some families find it meaningful to make a special photo ornament and share memories of the person who died as they place it on the tree.

There is no right or wrong way to celebrate the holidays – just as there is no right or wrong way to grieve.

While it’s good to make plans for coping during the holidays, we also need to remember to be flexible and take care of ourselves. Grief is unique for every individual, and you are the expert on your own grief and what feels right for you.

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As Education Director, Deborah works with TCR’s education and training programs for families and professionals and provides individual consultations around death, illness and other losses.