Q. My 42-year-old brother passed away this year and I was his caregiver. I am devastated and do not know how to cope this holiday season.
The holidays are a time for giving, so please give yourself the gift of acceptance — your grief is part of your healing process. It’s natural that remembering your brother at this time brings sadness and pain. Express your feelings and try not to isolate yourself from those who care about you.
Remembering your brother on special days is way to honor him. He can be there in spirit through a symbolic ritual such as lighting a candle at a family dinner or planting a tree on New Year’s Day. Do things that have a personal meaning to you and will foster positive memories of him.
Your feelings are a normal response to loss and you need to give yourself time to adjust to living in this world without him. Do what you feel up to doing during the holidays, but take care of yourself and let others know that you have limited energy, both emotionally and physically.
To learn more about grief, what to expect, and how to cope, please read:
CancerCares fact sheet, Living With Grief: How Can You Help Yourself
The National Cancer Institute’s Grief, Bereavement, and Coping With Loss
Finally, How To Go On Living When Some One you Love Dies, is an excellent book that is written by one of the foremost experts on grief, Therese A. Rando (Bantam Publishers).