The Christian holiday of Easter is this weekend and while some people are dreaming of Easter egg hunts and new dresses, for many of us it is the first or the twentieth Easter without our loved one and it can bring up lots of emotions.
The Easter holiday in particular I think can be challenging with its themes of death and resurrection. Also the springtime, when nature seems to be coming back to life after a barren winter, can feel a little unsettling if you are in the midst of grief journey. Having the environment be so different from your mental mood can be a little jarring at first.
It seems like metaphors and memories are all around us and that can trigger a lot of emotions.
There are two keys to dealing with Easter and any other sensitive time when you’re grieving.
Give Yourself Permission to Feel Whatever You Need to Feel
Please don’t try to ignore or stuff down your emotions when they come up. Doing that will only make things worse for yourself later. Schedule some time during the holiday and every day where you can just express your feelings in a safe environment. Even if that means crying in the shower for five minutes, you will feel so much better when you let the emotions flow through you instead of stifling them.
If you don’t feel up to celebrating or acknowledging the holiday, then skip it. Holidays come around every year, you can catch the next one. You need to honor how you feel.
Include Your Loved One
Just because your loved one isn’t physically with you anymore, it doesn’t mean that you need to forget them or lock the memories away in a trunk. Honor your loved one by partaking in their favorite pastimes, eating their favorite foods, reminisce about holidays past or bring a springtime bouquet to the gravesite.
My mother loved tulips at Easter, and I treated myself to a bouquet yesterday in her honor. It feels good to keep her memory alive in that way.
It’s the little remembrances that can make a big difference when you’ve lost a loved one and the holidays seem hard.
Easter and the spring can also be a reminder that good things are still coming your way. Your present may feel very sad at the moment, but seasons and times change. You can and will see the sunshine again.