The loss of a parent is never easy. When the death is sudden and unexpected, it can be even harder to understand and cope with your grief. There are several paths open to you if you have concerns that your parent’s death occurred as a result of negligence or medical malpractice. Seeking justice is one way that many chose to channel their grief and help prevent the same loss from happening to others.

The legal process for addressing your concerns can be lengthy. In the meantime, make sure you take care of yourself. Especially during the holiday season, grief manifests differently for everyone. If you are struggling with a recent loss, here are some coping methods that may help:

  • Keep your schedule flexible. This may not be the year to commit to all the usual parties and dinners. Say yes to the events that you would like to attend, but give yourself the grace to say no or change your mind. Psychologists suggest that grief can be easier to bear if you have an escape plan for any events that become overwhelming. Speak to your friends and family in advance so they know how to help you if a particular event becomes too difficult.
  • Communicate openly with your support team. With all the holiday cheer, feelings of loss, anger or depression can be extremely painful to talk about. Identify a few trusted friends, family members or professional counselors who can be a sounding board for these complicated emotions. A grief support group or other bereavement group can also be a helpful way to remind yourself that you are not the only one who is not up for the holiday spirit yet.
  • Create a ritual to remember your parent. Though nothing will replace the traditions you and your parents had, new practices can help ease the ache. Find a particular place to go and talk to your parent, or dedicate a special part of your holiday to her or his memory.

With time, you can manage your grief and celebrate your parent’s life.