Easter isn’t the first holiday that comes to mind when we talk about grief and the holidays, but it can be jarring with all the talk of spring, rebirth, and new life. Different special days or holidays are experienced differently by those grieving, depending on what memories, traditions, and meanings are associate with it. With special days and holidays, two things you can do are to make a plan and find ways to remember. Make a plan for how you can take care of yourself on that day. Identify what might be the most difficult for you, and make a plan of how you will handle the difficult emotions. For example, you might have a journal nearby or a person to call when you need them.
Finding ways to remember your loved ones on special days is a way to give yourself permission, and permission for those around you, to share and grieve in the ways you need. You may decide to light a candle in memory of your special person and place it at the dinner table, or have a designated time that you look through pictures and share stories about them. It’s always a good idea to involve children, if you have them. You may help them decorate a placemat in memory of your loved one to have at the Easter table. Another idea of something to do together is to make a ‘Memory Basket’. Using plastic eggs and slips of paper, encourage the children to write or draw memories they have with their loved ones and place their slips of paper in the eggs. Do this with them, invite them to share their memories, but if they prefer to not share that is fine too. Fill a basket with your memory eggs. You may decide to place photos or other special items in the basket and use it as a centerpiece for Easter. Be creative. Do what feels right for you and your family. And remember that it is okay, and helpful, to decompress and practice extra self-care after the holiday is over.
Author – Lindsy Diener-Locke, Program Specialist