You don’t have to find thanks and gratitude.

The end of the year, or any holiday, is often made to be jovial and a time of celebration. When you’re grieving, upholding a cheerful face can seem exhausting and nearly impossible. Do know that you’re allowed to feel however you’re feeling.

It’s okay to want to keep traditions.

Not everyone wants to opt-out of the holidays because their loved one died. If you find yourself continuing to do all the things you once did and finding joy in it, that’s okay too. Remember that there aren’t rules for grieving during a holiday. You only do what feels true and best for you.

It’s okay to stop traditions.

You aren’t obligated to uphold a tradition because it’s “what we always do.” The holidays of before and no longer the same as today. This doesn’t mean, however, that they will always be hard and unwelcoming. Alter or recreate holidays in whatever ways feel necessary and manageable for you.

Every grieving person views the holidays uniquely.

Some people like to celebrate, and others don’t. Many want gifts, and others want nothing to do with the festivities. There are grieving hearts who want to show up, leave early, come late, and skip it all together. While grieving hearts share many commonalities, each person will have a personalized outlook on grief, including those within the same family.

You may feel extra emotional about going into a new year without your person.

It’s normal to be apprehensive about beginning a new year without your person. You might feel that you’re leaving them behind, and an array of emotions may arise. It’s also normal if you’re dreading the current year and looking forward to a new one.

You’re not a bad person if you didn’t have the best relationship with your person and feel at ease that they aren’t here this holiday season.

Feeling relieved because your person died is normal too. Sometimes, we didn’t have the best relationship with someone, and their death means we get to have the holidays we’ve always wanted. Maybe your person brought down the season’s spirit, hindered you from decorating or playing music, and doing what you love. It’s okay if you’re experiencing newfound happiness and looking forward to what holidays can mean this year.

New year, same grief.

Starting a new year doesn’t always feel like a fresh start. It can often be (and is) a continuation of your grief voyage. Remember that grief evolves and changes over time, and you’re permitted to carry it into the future.

Grief Changes Every Holiday Season

You might find that this year’s holidays are different than last year’s, even if this isn’t your first year experiencing loss. It’s okay to treat this one as you previously did or to change it up. And yes, you’re still allowed to opt-in or opt-out as you see fit.

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