Dealing with Grief at Christmas


Christmas, it’s regarded as the most wonderful time of the year. But for many of us across South Australia, it’s a reminder that our loved ones are no longer here to celebrate and make special memories with.

The Christmas holidays are a particularly hard time when you’ve experienced loss; memories and traditions that were once filled with happiness and joy are now often associated with the fact that you can no longer share them with your loved one.

It is often the unexpected moments that hit the hardest, a song on the radio, a commercial on TV are sudden, unanticipated reminders of what was once a particularly happy time of year for you.

“Grief is love’s unwillingness to let go.”

Everyone deals with their grief differently and at Christmas time you may find yourself reacting in unexpected ways.

Here are some tips that may help you to cope with grief and loss and get you through the holiday season:

  • It’s okay to miss certain parts of Christmas or all of it - The first year without your loved one can be especially difficult and for years after it still may be just as hard. You might not have the energy or desire to want to celebrate Christmas. It could be anything from not wanting to put the tree up to allowing yourself to spend the day on your own. Let your family and friends know that this is a particularly hard time of year for you and what your intentions are so they know how to respond and don’t push you (even if they’re doing so with the best intentions) to do anything you don’t feel up to doing.
  • Remember your loved one in a special way - Keeping your loved one’s memory close to you at Christmas can help you feel comforted that they are not forgotten. Placing a special ornament on the tree, playing their favourite Christmas carol, or making their favourite dish on the day are all wonderful ways to honour them.
  • Start new Christmas traditions - Keeping up the traditions that you used to enjoy with your loved may be too much of a painful reminder. Starting new traditions with friends and family can help you through your grief and give you something positive to focus on during the holiday season.
Dealing with grief this Christmas

For those that have a family member or friend going through the stages of grief, there are ways for you to help them get through this difficult time of year:

  • Just be there - When a person is grieving they don’t need to hear ways to get over their grief, they often just need someone to sit with them and let them grieve. Pop over for a visit to check in. If they want to talk about their loved one, let them. If they need to cry, lend them your shoulder. Remember that dealing with loss doesn’t always get easier, so don’t expect them to be fine if this isn’t their first year without their loved one.
  • Acknowledge their loved one - Write a heartfelt card, make a donation in the loved one’s memory or simply talk about the loved one if they are up to doing so. Acknowledging those we have lost, helps to keep them near to us and your friend or family member may need that at Christmas.

At Blackwell Funerals we understand that coping with grief can be a daunting, difficult time in anyone's life. Feelings of loss and sadness may never go away, but with time the grief will lighten. If you’d would like further information on grief either for yourself or a loved one, please visit My Grief Assist.