Sunday, 18 December 2016

5 Ways To Remember a Loved One At Christmas

Christmas for so many people is a time for seeing family, feeling loved and celebrating the past year in style. It's a time when everyone seems in good spirits and the world is lit up and twinkly.
I for one love Christmas and always fact when I was little I often used to make myself physically sick on Christmas morning because I was just THAT excited! I've definitely calmed down from that level nowadays (thank goodness!) but something that I wanted to touch on today was those people who dread this time of year and really struggle.
As you know, since losing my mum my perspective on a lot of things has changed. It's easy when everything is going well in your life to not understand why someone would not look forward to the festivities and hide themselves away. However just as Christmas can be an amazing time for some, it can equally be a very sad and lonely time for others. It can really highlight that you have lost someone and make you yearn for them that little bit more.

I am a big believer in keeping people's spirits alive and instead of being afraid to talk about them, make them a part of your celebrations. I have put together a few ideas that help me and hopefully may help anyone else who is missing someone special this year.

Buy them a card

 Last year, the first Christmas without my mum, whilst shopping all I could see was Mummy and Mum cards. It broke my heart that I wouldn't be able to ever buy one again. I struggled with this feeling for a while and then realised that why couldn't I still buy her one? Why put myself through the upset? I chose the prettiest one and wrote a special message inside, then on Christmas morning I went down to the cemetery and left it there for her with some flowers. She is still my mum so why not do something that makes me feel like she is still included.

Light a Candle

I was brought up a Catholic and even though I'm not practising today, I do get a lot of comfort from being in a church. It feels so peaceful and makes me feel calm. Last year again, I went into my church on Christmas Eve and lit a 3 day candle for my mum with my brother. Knowing that it would be alight over the Christmas period made me happy and I will definitely be doing this again this year.

Donating to a local Hospice

We were very lucky that we managed to keep my mum at home where she wanted to be, rather than having to go into a hospice, however the nurses did come into our home regularly to help look after her in the last few days and keep her comfortable. This is a service that is incredibly important and you don't appreciate it until you have unfortunately had to use it. There are some families that will spend their Christmas day in the hospice with a loved one and will want to try and make it the best day possible. St Catherine's hospice, near me, ask for donations of drink around this time as they offer patients and families a glass of bubbly or something festive on the day to celebrate as best they can. I think this is a lovely touch that would be hugely appreciated, so I will be back again this year too, to donate some bottles to help create good memories for some people in need.

Angel Wing Decorations

The christmas tree is always the main feature of decorations in the house and so I decided that it would be nice to remember my mum whenever I looked at mine. I bought myself some angel wing decorations that hang on the tree and have one right in the centre. This brings me comfort as again it makes me feel as though she is there.

Talk and Share Stories

This one can be incredibly hard, as you can feel as though you don't want to think about what's happened too much in case it upsets you. However I think it's so important and will actually make you feel better. Share your favourite memories with each other and laugh about the silly things that your loved one used to do. Talking keeps them alive within you and helps to reduce the feeling that they are missing. Don't be afraid to let your mind wander there and perhaps raise a glass to them at the table too.

All of these little things helped me a lot last year and I hope that they can help anyone else in this situation too. To end this post, here is a little request from me:

Please don't forget anyone who may be alone this Christmas time or who may still be grieving.
Please appreciate your families and tell them how important they are to you. Don't ever take them for granted. And....please have a wonderful Christmas :)

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