Grief and the Holidays Are A Delicate Mix



What can you do to honor your sorrow in a healthy way during the holidays?

  • Accept the likelihood of discomforting feelings. The expectations this season imposes in the face of your grief may create apprehension and even dread in you. Traditions you used to enjoy may evoke sadness or regret. Any sense of confusion or unfairness may lead to irritability or anger. All this happens quite commonly, so to expect otherwise only increases your unwanted stress.
  • Lean a little—or even a lot. Let others help you with decorating, shopping, wrapping, cooking, child watching, or whatever else seems too much for you at the moment. It’s difficult to do the hard work of grieving while undertaking all the extra work associated with the holidays.
  • Plan ahead while setting your limits. Ask yourself which traditions you will maintain, which you will forgo, and which you will adapt this year. Will you celebrate at the same time and place? Who will be there? Talk with everyone involved and try to decide together. Keep this in mind: fears of upcoming holidays experiences are often much overblown.
  • Include your loved one. Don’t leave them out. Bring their life and your cherished memories into this time. Find ways to make their spirit a part of your commemorations, whether you’re with others or by yourself.
  • Take care of yourself. Take this advice to heart especially during the holidays. Get your rest. Carve out alone time if you need it. Listen to your body, your heart, your soul.
  • Remember that your sorrow should not rule out all joy. Be open to serendipitous moments. Welcome any smiles or laughter that may suddenly sparkle. Be grateful for and respond to any love that comes your way.
  • Reach out to others, if you have the energy. Often you can give of yourself as well as receive. You may now understand and appreciate the needs of others as you never have before.
  • Recall the deeper meaning of the holidays. Each religious tradition has its abiding messages for this time of the year. Take these in—they can speak hopeful truth to your grief.

The holidays this year may be a bittersweet and poignant time for you. With support, with honesty, and with courage, it can also become an important part of your healing.

Please Remember!

Willowgreen has three resources created specifically for grievers during the holiday time. Our books How Will I Get Through the Holidays? and Helping the Bereaved Celebrate the Holidays and our DVD Grieving Through the Holidays (which is actually four separate videos) are very helpful for individuals, families, in support group settings, and for community-wide events. Find them at

A Video Meditation for Those Who Grieve During These Holidays

grief-400We share with you a two-minute video that speaks sensitively to those who are bereaved during this time of the year—a time which holds such poignant memories. It’s by Jim Miller and is entitled What You Shall Never Lose. You can view it here.

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