Coping with Grief at Christmas

During the festive season, it is not unusual to feel increased sadness when you are grieving the loss of a loved one. It is during major festivals that people get together and being with family and friends is a part of the celebration. As a result, when you have lost someone, the loss is accentuated during this period.  It is not unusual to feel sad at this time and allowing yourself to feel the grief is a part of the healing process.

Change your Thinking

However you can also engage in other ways to help you cope. By doing this you will be helping yourself, those around you and the family & friends who are trying to help you cope.  It may be difficult for you to celebrate while missing a person you loved dearly. Indeed, you may feel guilty as you believe it is not correct for you to be happy at this time.  However, that may not be the correct way to think: being happy does not mean you miss a person less. Of course you miss them terribly but that does not preclude you from enjoying, for example, a Christmas celebration with other family members or friends. Getting together with family and friends may be the perfect time to remember the good times and to laugh as you recall happy memories of the one you have lost.

Other things to do that might help:

  • Spend some time reflecting on the happy times you had together.
  • Visit a favourite place that you enjoyed going to.
  • Talk about these happy times with other people.
  • Look at photographs and remember the person with love and joy.
  • Write a letter to the person, letting them know how you feel.

Do not Deny What you are Feeling

The main thing is that you do not deny how you are feeling. Just accept the feelings and emotions that may be causing you the increased feelings of sadness. If you need to cry, then cry. If you find yourself laughing then laugh.  Just give yourself permission to grieve the way that suits you best.  Your family and friends will understand and so will the one you mourn. In fact if you could ask them, they would encourage you. Grief is not something that can be set aside to suit the time of year.  It is real and you have to allow yourself to experience it, in whatever way suits you.  If that means you find yourself celebrating with family and friends and enjoying the festive period as you celebrate and remember the great times past, then go for it.  It may also result in you crying at times, then that is acceptable as well. 

Remember, other people will understand the pain you are dealing with and will be there to support you. Don’t turn away – take their helping hand and allow yourself to be a part of the celebration in the way that suits you best.  People that love and care for you will understand and help during this  time of year.