This holiday season we asked our Bereavement Coordinator, Kendra Franchi, if she had any advise for our JLB Project families and this is what she had to share:
Hello friends and loved ones. The Holidays can be especially rough when grieving the loss of a child. Here are a few tips to get you through.
1. Give yourself permission. ...permission to say no, permission to say yes, permission to be angry, permission to be sad, permission to feel all your feelings.
2. Don't get caught in the hustle and bustle of the season. Just be you and celebrate the way you feel you want to celebrate. Try not to be pushed into things you are not comfortable doing. Again, give yourself permission to say no.
3. Do things in moderation. Often our senses can be overwhelmed with songs, smells, and things that jog our memory of our little one. Take it easy.
4. Give up expectations. Enough said.
5. Plan for the day. Treat the anniversary or special occasion in the same way as you do other important days. Plan ahead. Talk with your family and friends about the best way to remember your loved one.
6. Allow yourself to be sad. These occasions might have been a time you spent with the child you’ve lost. It’s normal to feel sad that this child is no longer with you. It may help to take some time out for yourself to remember them. You might want to:
§ Find a quiet spot to remember all the good things about them;
§ Do something that you used to do with them;
§ Write a letter to them;
§ Revisit a favorite spot that you shared;
§ Share some of the memories with people who were also close to them.
7. It is O.K. to enjoy yourself. It might be hard to celebrate when you’re missing someone you love. It’s not uncommon to have a whole lot of different feelings, like sadness, guilt or excitement. Getting together with family and close friends can be a chance to remember the good times, and it’s O.K. to relax and have a laugh. Having fun is not necessarily a sign that you miss your baby any less.
8. Look after yourself. This might be a tough time for you, so remember to take care of yourself. Avoid making major decisions until after holidays are over. If possible, treat yourself to something you enjoy doing. Here are some ideas to help you relax:
§ Go for a walk;
§ Play a sport;
§ Listen to music;
§ Go shopping;
§ Get a massage;
§ Hang out with friends.
9. Talk to someone. It might be helpful to talk to someone you trust—like a family member, friend or teacher. If you’re finding it hard to cope with day-to-day stuff, it might help to talk to someone like a counselor or other mental health professional. You can also get information on local mental health professionals from your medical doctor.
10. Avoid bottling stuff up. Getting stuff off your chest is important. Tension can build up if you keep your feelings to yourself, and finding a way to get it out can help you feel better. You may want to talk to someone, write your thoughts down, draw, cry or punch some pillows.
We hope that this holiday is gentle, and that there is an abundance of love and light surrounding you.
From all of us at JLB Project...
Kendra Franchi is JLB Project's Bereavement Coordinator, she does follow-up care for our families who have lost. endra Franchi, MA, LAC, NCC, received her Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health and Counseling and her Master of Arts in Clinical Health Psychology from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. She currently resides in Scottsdale, Arizona but will soon be making her way back to Flagstaff. She spends her days with her husband and son, navigating the thrills of having a toddler, caring for our JLB Project families, and living her life to the fullest. e are so grateful to have her on staff and if you would like Kendra to touch base with you, please drop us a line and we will make sure you are supported.