“Holidays? I can hardly manage regular days!” If you are a caregiver to children and are also grieving a loved one’s death – I get it. Thinking about the holidays that lie ahead can be too much! And yet, just around the corner – here they come.
If you can manage to muster any energy at all, it’s worth reflecting on the season ahead by asking yourself these questions:
“What matters most to my kids, and me, this holiday season?”
What if you were to not just think about this question, but take a few minutes to write these answers down on paper?
As you make a list about what matters for your family this holiday season, it may emerge that you have some competing priorities at hand. As you name what matters for your kids, perhaps a few special traditions will rise to the top of the list (decorating the house, attending an event together, or enjoying a special meal). For you, what might matter most is keeping your holiday stress to a minimum. With a pared-down list in hand, it’s now time to bring to mind the memory of your loved one.
How can you incorporate your loved one’s memory into your plans this holiday season? Are there foods that your person loved? Are there holiday traditions he/she/they enjoyed? Making sure that your holiday plans include some moments to reflect on, and celebrate, the memory of your loved one will be important.
With a holiday “want to do” list in hand, it’s now time to ask for help – from the people in your support system. There are likely people that want to help your family in a time like this – so let them! Maybe your brother can drive the kids to see the lights at the Falls, while you spend a quiet night at home. Maybe you can finally let that co-worker bring over the lasagna she’s been trying to push on you for months. Don’t feel bad asking for help this holiday season – after all, even Santa needs his elves!
If you feel like your support system needs a boost, let our Sioux Falls community help. The 211 Helpline Center keeps an excellent record of holiday help available in our community – from free Thanksgiving meals to go, to holiday gifts and toys. A lot of these resources can be viewed on their website. Better yet, call 211 and speak to one of their trained, caring agents.
Other sources of support are there for you this season: your local faith community, your child’s school counselor, and our organization can be places to turn if your strength and will is faltering. Please reach out to me if you need help getting connected: email me firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a voice mail at 605-299-2224 and I’ll get back to you soon.
We are here for you, and you are not alone.
Rev. Katherine Olson
Director, Sad Isn’t Bad