Christmas can be a difficult time for anyone coping with the death of a loved one. It can also be tricky to escape, with Christmas songs playing in every shop, cards coming in the post, and re-runs of old favourites on TV. Online Community Manager Eleanor Baggley offers her advice.
Whether it’s the first, second, or fifth Christmas without your loved one you might find that your grief is more intense at this time of year.
Maybe you find yourself bursting into tears when you least expect it, perhaps you feel angry at the people around you, or even feel anxious, worrying about how you’ll feel or how you’ll cope.
These feelings are all normal and, in our Online Community, you’re not alone.
I think in my mind I will just treat it like another day, if that's possible, that way I might get through."
We know how hard this time of year can be so we’ve pulled together some tips and suggestions to help you cope:
- Recognise that Christmas will be different and difficult. You may start the day in tears, but end it with a smile – it is okay to grieve and feel sad, but it’s also okay to enjoy yourself and feel happy.
- Spend the day how you want to spend it - be honest with your family and friends and agree arrangements for the Christmas period in advance. Remember, your family may not be grieving in the same way that you are.
- Find a way to celebrate your loved one. Maybe you could ‘raise a glass’, light a candle, or leave a place for them at the table.
- Take a break and, if you’ve got a hectic couple of days ahead of you, schedule in some quiet time. Go for a walk if you need to, have a few minutes to yourself with a cup of tea, or spend some time writing in a journal.
- Don’t feel guilty about the things you ‘should’ be doing. You might be someone who sends cards to family and friends every year, but this year just feels too difficult and that’s okay. Do what feels right for you.
- For many people Christmas comes hand in hand with a number of traditions. Don’t be afraid to change old traditions or create new ones in memory of your loved one.
- Involve and support children. It can be difficult for children to know how to act at Christmas when the people they love are grieving, particularly if they’re feeling sad too. Perhaps they could make a decoration for the tree or light a special remembrance candle.
Reach out if you need support
However you choose to spend this Christmas, our Online Community will be there for you 24/7.
Online Community Manager