Dealing with grief at Christmas time

When I think of Christmas, I think of the delicious food, exciting presents and copious amounts of alcohol. Who can forget that drunken Uncle who's had a little too much sherry?! 

But it's also a time when the memories of those who are no longer with us become heavier and harder to deal with.

Losing my grandmother this year to her battle with cancer was an incredibly difficult time. Although she passed away this summer, Christmas without her around has been on my mind ever since. I have been in two minds about going home for Christmas, because I guess I would have to accept in some way that she's no longer there to wear that silly hat which you get in a cracker, and to save the yorkshire pudding until last.

As I've been reflecting on how I'm going to deal with Christmas Day, which is normally such a happy occasion, I thought I'd share with you ideas I've had to make the day a little easier when coping with grief.


1. Remember

Plan something in the day to remember your loved one. It could be that you light a candle, or look at some happy photos from your time with them. By doing something little, and outwardly showing you are thinking of them, it might help you to feel that they have been present on the day.

2. Ask

Ask for support from your family and friends. Whether it's talking about it, or just a hug, let your loved ones know that you are feeling emotional about this time. Support from others is crucial at this time of year, particularly when it comes to grief.

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3. Celebrate

Have a drink, play some silly games, laugh at some funny memories. If your loved one were to tell you anything, they would tell you to have fun, and maybe even to celebrate for them. They wouldn't want you to be sad at Christmas time, so why let yourself be?

4. Accept

Accept that Christmas will be a difficult time and you'll think more of your loved one on that day than usual. But also accept that it is only one day, or if we talk about the general time - then 2 weeks, and you will get through it. At the end of it all, you need to give yourself a pat on the back, because Christmas time is one of the hardest times when grieving.

If you are struggling to come to terms with grief and need some further support, please find some links to available services below:

Cruse Bereavement Care
Mind
Compassionate friends
Bereavement Advice Centre

LifeImogen Benton