July 2nd, 2011
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This July 4th holiday weekend may be your first holiday without a loved one.  It may be full of poignant memories, making it difficult to participate and enjoy the fireworks, parades and backyard cook-outs.

I recently found some helpful suggestions on healing from Capital Hospice’s Survivor’s Guide and thought I would share the following in case you are having a difficult time:

— It is okay to feel lousy.  Some days will be worse than others.  There is no logical progression to these feelings and that is okay.

–Cry if you need to.

–In dealing with guilt associated with the loss of a loved one, ask yourself five important questions:

How long am I going to choose to feel this way?
When am I going to say I’ve suffered enough?
What would it take to lessen my guilt?
What would it take to forgive myself?
Would my loved one want me to feel like this?

–Write a letter to say those things that were left unsaid.

–Be patient with yourself.  The feeling of “what’s the use?” will not last forever.

–Fine healthy ways to express anger: running, exercise, walking, hitting a pillow, talking to the deceased’s picture.

–If weight gain is a problem, buy “treat” foods in small quantities, not the bulk size.

–Don’t make major decisions unless absolutely necessary.

–Know that well-meaning people will say awkward and sometimes dumb things.  Forgive them, for they do care.

–There is great wisdom in the advice “take it a day at a time.”

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