November 20th, 2013
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Hi there!! It’s me again and I am back today with what I hope is timely information to help you deal with the topsy turvy happenings of the holiday season.
You will, and probably already have, received invitations to holiday parties and you may or may not be looking forward to going.  If you have recently lost a loved one I am very sorry that this personal tragedy is happening to you.  Socializing while in the throes of grief can be a bit of a high wire act.
I say it’s a delicate balance because you don’t want to isolate yourself because that is unhealthy for your broken heart and sometimes isolation makes you feel worse about what is happening to you.  However, you also don’t want to be accepting every invitation that comes your way because answering all of those unfiltered questions and comments about your loss  is emotionally draining.
What to do?
A guy I knew in my widowed persons support group handled it this way:  he took his calendar and opened it to the months of November and December and wrote in capital letters the word “NO” across the dates.  He said he did this because he didn’t want to lie to his friends about his social mood, so when someone would call him and invite him to some party or funtion he would say, “Let me look at my calendar.  Yup, just as I thought, my calendar says ‘no’ I won’t be able to make it.”
While that might not be the most gracious way of accepting or declining an invitation it worked for him and the group gave him credit for thinking ahead and coming up with something to help himself.
Every effort does not always hit the mark.  Boy do I know this!  I went to a very large Christmas party by myself a number of years ago.  I knew some of the people there and tried to join in the festivities but after about 15 minutes I felt overwhelmed and went to go to the host and hostess and thanked them and explained that I had to leave.  I was an emotional wreck!
To help you decide what kind of social events will or will not work for you as you recover from a loss, AARP suggests you ask yourself the following questions:
–Is this event a “must do,” and do I like doing it?
–Is it observed only our of habit or for reasons that no longer fit?
–What are the consequences of skipping the event for now?
–Is there another event we would all enjoy more?
–What would we like to do differently?
There is no rule book for healing after a loss.  I just know that it can’t be rushed and that we must respect the process others go through to find their own path to processing their pain and trying to do it during the holiday season can make that precarious journey a lot more unpredictable.
Hugs to all!!
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