THE shocking death of teenager Jessie Cate, whose body was found not far from her Dawesville home last week, was a tragedy made even worse given its cruel timing in the week before Christmas.
It is hard to comprehend how Jessie’s family and boyfriend will go about picking up the pieces of their shattered lives.
Theirs will be a 2011 Christmas spent in a state of numbed shock and sadly, this will only be the start of a long period of grieving.
Even for people for whom it has been many years since the death of a loved one and through a less shocking cause, Christmas is a time when the pain can be brought sharply back into focus.
There is a contrast between the cheer and joviality of Christmas as it is widely portrayed and the personal reality for those who are mourning.
Grieving a lost loved one is a permanent and ongoing process.
Many people never fully recover from the death of a husband, wife, child or sibling.
At best they learn to manage their grief and get on with life as best as possible.
Around Christmas, as with birthdays and other significant dates, it is natural that feelings of sorrow intensify and come to the surface.
Christmas can be enough of an emotional flashpoint as the hectic festive season culminates and factors such as family and financial tension can combine to stressful effect on some individuals.
All these factors point to Christmas as a time when we should be focused on looking out for one another’s emotional wellbeing rather than being distracted by the demands of shopping for presents, hosting events and of family politics.
Perhaps the best present you could give this year might be a sympathetic ear and a few heartfelt words of support.
Even better would be such gestures made regularly and year-round.
- More information at http://au.reachout.com|/find/articles/managing-grief-at-christmas