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Coping with Death and Loss during the Holidays

The holiday season is a time for friends & families to gather together, sharing precious moments filled with joy, laughter, and celebration. However, following the death of a loved one, coming together to celebrate can be incredibly challenging especially if it is your first time coping with grief during Christmas. This article explores the difficulties of navigating Christmas without a loved one and suggests some practical ideas for handling your thoughts & feelings of grief & loss during this festive season.  

The Heartache of Loss:

The death of someone we love is one of life’s most strenuous events with the holiday season often intensifying our feelings of grief. The absence of someone who was once a vital part of our celebrations can leave a void that is deeply felt. The anticipation of Christmas can evoke intense emotions, reminding us of all the cherished memories we had with our loved one.  Acknowledging these feelings and allowing ourselves to grieve during this time is an important part of honouring the loss and moving towards a place of solace, peace, and healing amidst the pain.

Embracing Emotions:

Many people will attempt to be strong, put on a brave face, and suppress negative emotions so they don’t bring others down. Remember that it is okay to not be okay, it’s ok to not be strong, and it’s healthy to express our grief openly. Or, you might feel fine and that’s okay too. You could feel all sorts of other emotions, and they might come in waves.  By acknowledging these emotions and allowing them to wash over us, we honour the significance of our loved one and validate our own pain. Reaching out for support from family, friends, or a grief support group, and sharing our feelings can help us make sense of loss and navigate this challenging time.  

Creating New Traditions:

While it may seem impossible to enjoy the holidays without our loved one, creating new traditions can help us honour their memory while finding new ways to celebrate. Consider starting a new ritual that pays tribute to your loved one, such as lighting a candle in their memory or placing a special ornament on the tree, by making their favourite sort of food or drink a big part of the family day. By incorporating their presence in these new traditions, we can form fresh ties with the lost and help keep their memory alive with our actions.

Sharing Stories and Memories:

One of the most beautiful ways to cherish our loved ones during Christmas is by sharing stories and memories. Gather with family and friends, take turns reminiscing about your favourite moments with your loved one. This can be a healing experience and provide an opportunity to celebrate their life and the impact they had on each of you. Through storytelling, laughter, and even tears, you can find comfort and a sense of connection with others who are also missing your loved one.

Taking Care of Yourself:

During a time of grief, self-care can become more wearisome but also more important. Though it might seem demanding, try to take care of your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Exercising, getting the right amount of rest, eating nourishing meals, engaging in activities that bring you joy can help. Allow yourself moments of solitude to reflect and process your emotions. Consider engaging in activities like listening to music, journaling, meditating, spending time in nature or whatever else you find most helpful to journey through this season. 

Seeking Support:

Coping with grief during Christmas can feel isolating, but you are not alone. Reach out to your support network and share your feelings with trusted friends and family members. Consider joining a grief support group, either in person or online, where you can connect with others going through similar experiences. These communities can be a source of warmth, understanding, and validation. Remember, seeking support is a sign of strength, and receiving compassion from others can help ease the burden of grief.  Make contact with the Cornwall Bereavement Network on their website www.cornwallbereavementnetwork.org, to find out about support near you 

Embracing Hope:

Grief may feel overwhelming during the holiday season, and although our loved ones are no longer physically present, remember their spirit and love endure. As you manoeuvre through these challenging days, try to remind yourself of the love and joy that the season can still bring. Look for moments of beauty and find consolation in the connections you have with others. Allow yourself to embrace hope knowing that you can carry the pain of grief as well as joyful memories of your loved one that can bring you encouragement.


Christmas can be an incredibly difficult time for those who have lost a loved one. The absence of a cherished person leaves a void that makes navigating the holiday season quite burdensome. Embracing our emotions, creating new traditions, sharing memories, taking care of ourselves, and seeking support can help us find comfort and cope with the heartache. Remember that you are not alone. We will always be here to help you so please get in touch if we can be of any assistance at Ugalde and Son.

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