Whether someone is newly grieving, or remembering a dear one who died long ago, Memorial Day can bring about many unexpected emotions.
Social media, television, and movies containing pictures and sound bites of families celebrating, may serve as constant reminders of what the griever will not have this year. Memorial Day is the symbolic beginning of summer and a day for barbecues and get togethers with friends. Summer may not hold the same excitement now. Summer vacations, which may have been highly anticipated in years past, are greatly changed. This year, the word “Memorial” takes on a new significance.
Weeks and months after a death, grievers are often bewildered that their pain continues with such intensity. They sometimes feel embarrassed that they are still focusing so much on their grief. Society’s expectations that someone should be “over it” and “moving on” don’t help. We do not expect that someone will be “done” grieving at some definitive point in time. Rather, we know that grief is a life-long process with peaks and valleys. While the pain will not always be as raw and constant as it was in the beginning, there will be times throughout one’s life when the grief will be quite intense.
There is no correct way to move through the holidays when grieving the death of someone close. It’s okay to feel sadness and joy at the same time, to remember and honor the loved one, and to laugh and cry. Finding a way to include their memory in some significant way will help a griever maintain a healthy connection to those who have died this Memorial Day and for years to come.
Written by Christine Sefein, MA, LMFT, Clinical Director of Adult Programs from OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center.
Since 1993, OUR HOUSE has provided grief support services and training for individuals, schools, offices, and communities. Join a support group or donate today.
If you would like to learn more about this, please sign up for our webinar on Memory, Grief and Loss next Tuesday, May 23. The link to register is HERE.
Memorial Day can bring up difficult emotions for some veterans so The Soldiers Project will be hosting webinar addressing grief and loss. What is This Thing Called Grief? will be on May 23, 2017 from 12:00 PM to 1:15 PM PST. This webinar will explore the cognitive, emotional, and spiritual aspects of the grief process and how therapists can support their clients as they journey towards hope and healing.
What is This Thing Called Grief? will be presented by Christine Sefein, MA, LMFT, Clinical Director of Adult Programs from OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center.