Dealing with Loss During the Holidays

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is always difficult. Losing someone close to the holidays, or even the first few holidays after losing them, can be a new level of difficulty. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa can be the most trying holidays for grievers. Instead of avoiding these feelings of grief this holiday, try leaning into them. Grieving is the way out of the painfulness of the loss. Here are some tips for powering through this holiday season:

Have a time and a place for your grief.

  • Say a prayer for your loved one before the big meal. If praying isn’t your thing, you can make a time to hold a moment of silence or share favorite memories with that person.
  • Light a candle for them.
  • Have everyone tell a funny story about them.
  • Create an online tribute for the person, so others can share stories and pictures.

Talk to someone about your grief.

  • Talk to someone. You do not have to endure grief alone. Talk to a family member, friend or a counselor. Talking to someone about how you feel can help light the weight of grief that you are feeling. Also, a counselor can provide you with coping methods.

Things to remember:

  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Give yourself time to feel and process the feelings you are experiencing.
  • Let yourself get all your tears and other emotions out of your system. Don’t bottle everything up. It is okay to cry.
  • Don’t be afraid to accept help. Embrace the helping hand of a loved one.
  • Remember the children or other family members who are grieving too. Don’t let them be forgotten in your state of grief just because they may be showing it differently. Talk to one another about what you are feeling.
  • Finding different ways to remember your loved one for every holiday and season could help with the grieving and healing process.

If someone you know has recently lost a loved one, there are many ways you can help them through the tough times. For starters, it’s important that you be accepting of how they choose to celebrate the holidays. They may want to follow traditions, start new ones, or avoid the holiday all together this time around and that is okay. Other ways to help include offering to help them clean, bake, decorate or do their shopping. “Easy tasks” can be overwhelming for someone experiencing a fresh loss, and some people just enjoy the companionship while completing these tasks. Remember not to rush someone through the grieving process. Encourage them that hope is on the horizon and there will be a day where they can feel “okay” again. If you or a loved one are experiencing overwhelming grief, consider joining a grief support group. At Family Hospice, we have a grief center with support groups for all ages and situations. Visit our website at or call (618) 277-1800 to receive more information about our Heartlinks Grief Center and other services.


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