Search Blog  

Newsletter Subscription
* indicates required field

Blog Archive

How to Handle the Holidays after Losing Someone


Grieving Process

Posted On: Jan 14, 2017

How to Handle the Holidays after Losing Someone

Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, Halloween—different holidays matter deeply to different people. Whether you adore Thanksgiving or enjoy Valentine's Day, getting through the holidays after losing someone you love is devastating, not to mention difficult. The empty seat at the table looms like the largest thing in the room, and you're inundated with memories of years past when your family or circle of friends was complete. The urge to bury your head and forget the holidays is both common and completely understandable, but you can't do that every year. Instead, you have to do everything you can to power through.

Make a Holiday Schedule for Yourself

You know your feelings better than anyone. If you feel anxious, upset, or depressed at the mere thought of the upcoming holiday, create a rigid schedule for yourself that includes alone time, down time, and time to grieve or remember. You may even want to set aside time to meet with a grief group or to talk to friends and family who also suffered through this particular loss.

Honor the Person Who Passed

This gesture often means the world. You can do it any way you like. Leave a seat open at the table, or create an entire setting for your lost loved one. Light a candle to commemorate the life lost. Write down your feelings or your memories of the person and read them aloud to everyone gathered. Honor the person in your life in any way you choose, but take a moment to remember the light that once warmed your life.

Let Yourself Celebrate

Accept an invitation to a party. Go out to dinner with family or friends. Drive around to see the lights at Christmas or the decorations at Halloween. Spend time with the people who matter to you. Do at least one thing you used to do with your loved one. At times, your sadness will probably rise up and threaten to engulf you, but persevere. Each year, that feeling will improve.

Let People Help You

The people who love you know what they're going through. The friends and family members who also suffered the loss empathize with how hard the holidays are. If people offer to help you—to host, to cook, to talk, or to simply get through this—then let them. They love you. They want to ease your burdens and soothe your sadness. Let them.

The first holiday after a loss is unquestionably the hardest, but they do get better. Sadness softens into nostalgia and memory. These tips will simply help that to happen sooner.