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Not everyone is joyful at Christmas time

Taken from:
Saanich News- December, 2004

Paul Beckow
Individual, Couple, and Family Counsellor

Not everyone is joyful at Christmas time. For those who have lost someone precious and are facing Christmas without their loved one, Christmas can be a painful reminder of their loss.

Regarding the death of his daughter, a close friend shared with me:

"The truth for me is that the first Christmas without my daughter was almost harder to get through than the day she died, " he told me. "On the day we lost her, I went into shock, which seemed to protect me a little. But the pain and anxiety, the alianation and the sorrow, the dislocation of that first Christmas - waking up Christmas morning knowing she wasn't going to be here with us - that was like going to war. I had no idea how I would make it through it. I just wanted Christams to go away!"

What would I say to a friend or client facing their loss at Christmas?

First, this is a time to take care of yourself. If there ever was such a time, this is it. Taking care of yourself means calling in the troops.

Unload a lot of your responsiblities. Let people around you know how they can help and support you. Dont be afraid to ask and allow others to contribute to you.

Taking care of yourself means bringing people around you a little closer, having friends closeby who can listen and share what you are going through.

Acknowledge with others your "battle" to make it through Christmas.

Invite them not to be afraid of your pain and your tears, because you're not escaping them - and thank them for being there for you.

This way you have the room to be authentic. The freedom to be genuine with your grief creates truth and healing all around - for yourself and for others.

Recollections of Christmas's past with your loved one will appear.
Meet and honour those memories. If you can be open about your memories, share them as well. Be aware that sadness, while painful, brings us face to face with the depth of our love.

For all of us Christmas is a call upon all of us to find that quiet place within, that place we know as love. And share that love with others.

To those making their way through grief during this Christmas, you are in our thoughts and in our hearts.

Paul Beckow is a trained individual, marriage, and family therapist with over 20 years experience. If you have a relationship and/or family concern, write to him c/o Victoria Family Institute, 4046 Century Rd., Victoria B.C., V8X 2E4, e-mail him at pbeckowLETSTALK@shaw.ca., or call 250 721 2477.

For personal or couple counselling, for more information, or to register for a course - please contact Paul Beckow at The Victoria Family Institute.

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