I don’t want to put a damper on the holiday season.  It’s hard enough to deal with it already because of Covid and our other realities.  However, I want to speak to those of us who are struggling this season because we are grieving the loss of someone or something.

Going though a joyous time, such as the holidays, can be extremely difficult and painful when a loved one is not there, especially if it is the first year.  When my mother passed away four years ago, I was told the “firsts” would be impossible.  The “firsts” meaning the first holidays, birthdays, and events without my loved one.  I had a friend tell me that the “seconds” (second year events) were actually harder for her than the “firsts”.  In reality, they are all hard, but it’s true that time does heal, and you learn to adjust.

What happens when you are the one grieving the loss and everyone else around you is enjoying the holiday season?  It can make you angry, jealous, and resent those people who are enjoying themselves.  It can make you bitter. You may not feel like participating in the various holiday events.  You may find even yourself angry with your chosen higher power.

How do you cope with grief and loss during the holiday season?

This is not an easy answer because everyone handles things differently, but here are my suggestions for coping:

  1. Accept and mourn the loss
  2. Don’t ignore how you are feeling, instead embrace it
  3. Honor your loved one’s memory
  4. Don’t be bitter, resentful, or jealous
  5. Figure out how to enjoy the holiday season without your loved one there
  6. Engage in an activity that your loved one enjoyed
  7. Practice self-care by relaxing and doing something you enjoy each day
  8. Exercise, eat well, and stay healthy
  9. Journal your thoughts and feelings
  10. Stay away from alcohol and drugs
  11. Pray or communicate with your chosen higher power
  12. Seek out professional help

These can be tough times, and you may feel like you are the only one who lost a loved one.  Honor how you are feeling and don’t brush it off.  You will get through the holiday season and you will emerge stronger because of it.