The magic and joy of the holiday season is tarnished when you’re dealing with grief at Christmas. Here are five ways to survive the season.
Jane Galbraith is the author of Baby Boomers Face Grief: Survival and Recovery. She knows firsthand what it’s like to grieve during Christmas; one of the first things she encourages people to do is share love with the people who are with you today, because…
“The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone,” said Harriett Beecher Stowe. If you’re struggling with what you did or didn’t say to your loved one, it’s time to let it go. Forgive yourself, let go of regret, and immerse yourself in the peaceful light of the Christmas season.
Will you let this Christmas be the season for a new beginning? Before Jane’s tips, I want to mention spirituality. It’s Christmas, after all, and what better time to renew your spiritual connection with God or a Higher Power? Sometimes, grief can drive us into the arms of our Creator. Other times, grief separates us from God and our healthy spiritual selves.
How has your spiritual life changed, now that you’re dealing with grief at Christmas? I welcome your thoughts below. If you want to share your memories and experiences, please feel free.
5 Ways to Deal With Grief at Christmas
Guest Post ~ Jane Galbraith
The Christmas holidays create even more pain to those who are suffering grief from the loss of a loved one. It is a painful reminder of those who are no longer in our lives on a daily basis. What should be a festive and happy time does not feel like it when you’re dealing with grief at Christmas.
Baby boomers have inherited the “stiff upper lip” of our parent’s generation, and have also been inundated with expressions such as “get on with life” and “closure” and “getting back to normal.” None of these expressions or attitudes helps the grief stricken, especially during the Christmas holiday season. There is an enormous amount of pressure to act “normal” during these holiday times. This seems like an insurmountable task if you’re grieving during the holidays. It’s exhausting.
1. Give yourself permission to feel whatever it is you feel. If journaling or using a support group or special person that helps, make sure you take advantage of them during holiday times.
2. Keep up any traditions that your loved one started, and that you can continue. This will help you honor your lost loved one. If you’re grieving the loss of your spouse, learn how to meet new friends for widows.
3. Try to establish new traditions if you’re grieving at Christmas, which make you and your family feel good about the holiday. Include new activities that everyone enjoys. One of the best new traditions is one that enriches the lives of others! Read Creative Gifts for an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox for an example of a new Christmas tradition.
4. Talk about your loved one with friends and family and encourage them to share favorite stories with you. Remember that different people deal with grief at Christmas in different ways.
5. Take care of yourself when you’re dealing with grief at Christmas. Anything that helps you with healing after loss should be done, such as a long walk, massage, listening to music and getting enough sleep.
Christmas is difficult when you’re grieving, but there are ways to get through them without hiding from the pain. Even though the holiday may not be as happy as last year, the day passes and you do survive. Somehow, you learn how to let go of the past.
If the grief you’re facing seems insurmountable, read Lonely This Christmas? 9 Ways to Overcome Loneliness. I don’t know how you’re dealing with your grief, but sometimes it’s easier when you believe your loved ones are in Heaven. They’re watching you with love, compassion, and peace…and they’re waiting for you to come home.
If you have any thoughts on dealing with grieve over the Christmas holiday season, please comment below…
3 comments On Dealing With Grief at Christmas
I’m so sorry for your loss. It sounds like you love and miss her so much, and this Christmas will be difficult. It also sounds like you’re dealing with other losses – your unborn babies – and that affects how you perceive God and faith and even the meaning of life.
I have no answers, and I think – despite the name of this article – that there is no way to “deal with grief.” Sometimes we just have to go through it, through the feelings of anger and depression and confusion and helplessness.
The most important thing is to find people who understand what you’re going through, and who accept you for who you are. I don’t know if you’ve talked to a counselor about your losses, but sometimes it helps to just get it all out, lay it out in front of someone who can take it. Our loved ones aren’t prepared to help us grieve the way a counselor can — or even a support group. In fact, sometimes I think grief support groups are more effective than counselors, depending on where we’re at in life. And what type of support group it is, and what the members are like.
Thank you for being here; I welcome you back anytime. You can say whatever you want; you’ll find no judgment here! Only acceptance, and a virtual hug.
This is my first Christmas without my mom. She died in May of terminal lung cancer. Christmas was her favorite time of year. This has not drawn me closer to God, it has driven me away. Do people get cancer so others learn to love more? No. Do children die because God needs another angel? No. Is God trying to teach us a lesson? No. When a person dies is it because they have served their purpose? No. It’s all just stupid biology. People die. People make bad choices. Nature happens. After 4 miscarriages, I thought I had this faith thing figured out. Now I think it’s all just BS.
I lost my Mother ten years ago on new years day, she was 63. I still miss her every day and found the holidays were not the same for the first few years, Last year I was looking forward to Christmas and put up all the decorations like I had prior to her death.
On December 17th my father became ill, he had a very difficult time and I regret suffered far more then any one should. As a daughter, I should not have been present to see such a haunting event.
My Dad passed away on December the 20th, I now dread the holidays. I know that he would not want me to feel this way, but I also know that it will just take time to heal once again.
My mother had been ill for several years. My Father retired early to provide her care. He kept her out of a nursing home write up until a few weeks before her death.
I was always close to my Father, he is my hero.