Day #9 of the 12 Days of Coping with Christmas

by Karla Helbert

The ninth coping strategy is “Make Something”

It doesn’t matter whether you think you are creative or not. You are.

When you’re living with heart-crushing grief, just figuring out how to get out of bed is a creative endeavor. I talk to people a lot about being creative in grief and how helpful it can be. When I teach workshops or do retreats, we do all sorts of creative things in our grief. And people always say, “I’m just not creative,” or “I’m not an artist,” or “I can only draw stick figures.” Stick figures can do … Read more... “Day #9 of the 12 Days of Coping with Christmas”

Day #8 of the 12 Days of Coping with Christmas

This one is easy but difficult for some to do. Talking about your loved one helps heal.

The eighth coping strategy is “talk.”

Many of you have realized that other people will completely ignore you and wish you’d just stop talking about your dead or suffering child. But this is my argument to those people, “I will stop talking about my dead child when you stop talking about your living ones.”

I have written a lot on this subject and refuse to let someone else make me bury the memory of my child because it makes them uncomfortable. Someone who does … Read more... “Day #8 of the 12 Days of Coping with Christmas”

Day #7 of the 12 Days of Coping with Christmas

by Karla Helbert

The seventh coping strategy is “yoga.”

Just as grief is not one way, or one thing, neither is yoga. There are multiple yogic paths but all paths of yoga lead to the same place. The word itself means “union” and the goal of yoga is to help us see all the various pieces and parts of ourselves as unified, recognizing that we were never really separate in the first place. It helps us to remember (and to re-member) those parts of us that we forgot were One. This includes our beloved dead.

Grief impacts every aspect of our … Read more... “Day #7 of the 12 Days of Coping with Christmas”

Day #5 of the 12 Days of Coping with Christmas

by Karla Helbert

The fifth coping strategy is “meditation”

You’re probably also familiar with the term “mindfulness.” Mindfulness the practice of being as present as possible in this moment, with as much compassion and as little judgment as possible.

Meditation is a mindfulness practice. Learning to do this can be a huge gift to yourself in grief. It’s not easy, but it has big payoffs. and There’s a guided meditation for you to try at the end of this post.

Most people who believe they can’t meditate usually say something like, “I just can’t quiet my mind!” If we approach meditation … Read more... “Day #5 of the 12 Days of Coping with Christmas”

Day #4 of the 12 Days of Coping with Christmas

The fourth coping strategy is “Find a support system”

Human beings aren’t meant to do everything in isolation. Grief, watching a child self destruct from mental illness/addiction makes us feel helpless. Why go it alone where there are so many others suffering? There is no badge of honor by toughing it out by yourself.  Support is a step you take to help you heal. And your presence helps others, too.

What does that mean?

Support systems come in a lot of packages, an apropos description given the time of year. Your friends and family have empathy for you but you … Read more... “Day #4 of the 12 Days of Coping with Christmas”

Day #2 of the 12 Days of Coping with Christmas

The second coping strategy is “Write”

After Charles died, others didn’t seem to want to talk about him. Or let me talk about him. I kept wondering, “Why can’t I talk about my son?”

So two  months after he died, I started writing an article for the newspaper about his death. We had just moved out of the house where he had grown up because it had sold four days before he stunned us by killing himself.

He died June 2015. I started writing August 2015. The first version was sloppy and pointless but I kept writing it, revising it, … Read more... “Day #2 of the 12 Days of Coping with Christmas”

Day #1 of the 12 Days of Coping with Christmas

The first one is “Get some exercise.”

While I was editing that video, I felt like blowing something up. Actually, I just wanted to blow up iMovie. Other times of the year, I have a little more patience.

Karla Helbert, a grief expert, will be co-authoring many of these posts.

This is for anyone who is coping with adversity– loss of a child or other loved one to suicide or overdose, someone else’s substance use disorder,  your own mental illness, SUD, or thoughts of suicide.

So onto coping strategies

Some of you don’t want to get out of bed, … Read more... “Day #1 of the 12 Days of Coping with Christmas”