The Holiday Bill of Rights for Those Who are Grieving

1. You have the right to say TIME OUT, anytime you need to.
Time out to let up, blow a little steam, step away from the holidays, have a “huddle” time and start over.

2. You have a right to TELL IT LIKE IT IS when people ask,
How are you? You have a right to tell them how you REALLY feel, not just what they want to hear.* You need to take care of yourself. Be attuned to your feelings. (*P.S. You also have the right to smile and say you’re fine, because telling them how you really feel, isn’t worth your time – some people will never understand anyway)

3. You have the right to SOME “BAH HUMBUG” DAYS.
You don’t have to be “Jolly Old St. Nicholas” all the time. You are not a bad person just because you don’t feel like singing Christmas carols all day.

4. You have the right to DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY.
There is no law that says you must always do Chanukkah and Christmas the same way. You can send 10 cards instead of 100 — or no cards at all. You can open presents at somebody else’s house. You can do without a tree. You can have a pizza instead of turkey! – the list is endless.

5. You have the right to BE WHERE YOU WANT TO BE.
Be at home, or at the relatives or with friends. Be in any city, any state you choose! NOBODY SAID YOU HAVE TO HAVE SNOW TO HAVE CHRISTMAS. There’s no law that says you must stay home!

6. You have the right to have SOME FUN.
Don’t be afraid of what someone will say if they see you laughing and having a good time. Laughter is every bit as therapeutic as tears. If you are doing something that your loved one would have also enjoyed, think of their laughter and feel their laughter inside of you.

7. You have the right to CHANGE DIRECTION IN MID-STREAM.
Grief is unpredictable. You may be all ready to go somewhere or do something and be suddenly overwhelmed, immobilized. When that happens it’s okay to change your mind.

8. You have the right to DO THINGS AT DIFFERENT TIMES.
Go to church or synagogue at a different time. Open presents at a different time. Serve your meal at a different time. Give up and go to bed at a different time. Don’t be a slave to the holiday clock.

9. You have a right to REST, PEACE, and SOLITUDE.
You don’t need to be busy all the time. Take a nap whenever you need one. Take time to pray and meditate to recharge your spirit, it can do you much more good than eating another huge meal.

10. You have the right TO DO IT ALL DIFFERENT AGAIN NEXT YEAR.
Just because you change things one year: try on something different, does not mean you have written it in stone. Next year, you can always change it back or do it, in yet, another new way.

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