Grieving During The Holidays

Christmas for many is a time for family, celebration and showing the ones you love the most how much you appreciate and care for them. We exchange smiles and hugs in shopping malls, make out Christmas list and prepare ourselves for holiday tradition. This is not the experience for all however, there are many who dread this time of the year because they can no longer experience it with someone they love.

grieving during the holidays
Me and my best friend (Nov. 2014)

About 3 years ago my best friend found her mother unresponsive in her bed after coming home from work. The death was unexpected and traumatizing– as you can imagine. During that time my friend had to move out of their two bedroom apartment, plan a funeral and grieve for the lost of the woman that carried, supported and loved her the way no one else could. All this occurred only two weeks before Christmas. So while most were celebrating and exchanging gifts, she was enduring the hardest pain she’d ever encountered.

It was only two months later that I experienced loss as well. My grandmother was found in the same way, by my mother one Saturday afternoon– her room just four feet across the hall from mine. She was more than a Grandmother to me; she was my best friend. Much like Big Mama from Soul Food, she was “the rock” that held the family together, and this will be our first Christmas without her. So while I am thankful for the memories and blessed with a wonderful family, I will forever miss my Grandmother. The holidays will never be the same for our family and countless others who’ve gone through similar experiences.

Losing someone close to you is one of the hardest things anyone can ever go through, there are certain times of the year such as the anniversary of the death, birthdays and holidays that trigger emotions for the lost loved one. I encourage all to not only enjoy and appreciate your family this Christmas but to love and embrace those who may be grieving in these difficult times. Here are 3 ways to spread love during these times: Invite them over to spend time with you and your family, send them a gift or loving words to show them you have not forgotten about them. Whatever you do, do it in love. And for those who are dealing with the pain of loss, know that you are not alone.

    1. Invite Them Over

Invite them over, especially if they’ll be alone for the holidays. Christmas is a time for giving and spending time with your family. Those who are coping with lost loved ones will want to be around others for a sense of support and security. Open your home to those who are alone and grieving during this hard time. This will help keep their spirits high and give room for them to grieve in a place where they are welcomed and loved.

      2. Send them a Gift and Loving Words

If they are unable to make it to your home due to distance or perhaps they’re spending it with other family members, let them know you are thinking about them with a simple phone call. Expressing that you understand this is a difficult time and you are praying and thinking of them will bring a sense of comfort. Sending a thoughtful gift is also a great way to support during this time, especially one that speaks to the relationship, tokens of appreciation or a gift that shows you listened.

     3. Let Them Grieve

Grieving during the holidays is not easy. Your friend or loved one will need a safe space to talk about their feelings without fear of judgment. Whether it was 2 weeks ago or 10 years ago, the pain from a lost friend or family member never truly subsides. Allow them to vent, cry or share memories with you and let them know you’re listening.

Coping with loss is one of the hardest parts of life. Read  7 ways to Cope With the Lost of a Loved One. Grieving during the holidays? Let us know in the comments how you get through these difficult times.

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Originally posted 2015
Updated December 24, 2017
Updated December 11, 2019