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an empty place at the table {12/17/12}

Kelley Clink

I've already posted something about handling the holidays, but since they don't make Thundershirts for humans I thought I would share these practical tips by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
  • Keep in mind that sometimes the anticipation of an event can be more difficult than the event itself.
  • Remember that family members may feel differently about continuing to do things the way they've been done in the past. Try to talk openly with each other about your expectations.
  • Above all, bear in mind that there is no "right" way to handle the holidays. You and your family may decide to try several approaches before finding one that feels best for you.

While these tips come from the AFSP, I think they apply to anyone grieving over the holidays. I would also add that there is no right or wrong way to feel during the holidays. The first few Christmases and Thanksgivings after my brother died I was miserable--and I think I would have been no matter what I'd done. The truth of the matter is that he was missing from the table. I felt the empty space less when my family changed up our routine, but I still felt it. And I hated feeling it. And I hated that I hated feeling it. And that was okay too.

I want to add one more tip: Be gentle with yourself. Sometimes it gets harder first, but eventually it gets easier. It really, really does.

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