Celebrating the Holidays while Grieving Loss of a Loved One

holidays while grieving






Celebrating during the holidays while grieving the loss of a loved one is tough!

You want to just crawl back into bed and pull the covers over your head and sleep. The pain becomes exponential especially during this time because a lot of the holiday traditions are based around family time and being together.

The Hallmark movies and cards don’t really help much either! Don’t you hate it when you’re just not feelin’it and can’t find a card because your relationship is strained or just doesn’t fit any of them?! Or worse, you’re staring at the rows of cards knowing you’ll never choose one for that person you’ve lost in your life…ever! 

*note* This post was updated December 2018 – We lost our brother in 2016

The Holiday Blues are no joke y’all. It’s for real and it doesn’t play around. One moment I’m humming to Santa Baby and dancing in the kitchen making cranberry sauce for neighbors and the next I’m sobbing in my closet longing for one more hug from my little brother.

holiday blues

It was the first Thanksgiving and Christmas since our brother’s death. We were going to make meals from a family cookbook with different family members’ recipes but after my sister and I looked at pictures of all the family we’ve lost in there we just couldn’t bring ourselves to do it.

Holidays make it even more noticeable people you so loved being with are missing. 

Focusing on what IS going well and what I DO have left actually has helped me. I’ve experienced so much loss and devastation in my life. It has forced me to be more intentional about living life while we have it here on Earth.

Grief during the Holidays

  • A memory, seeing a young, handsome VETERAN (my brother was so beautiful), or looking at pictures of his children on Facebook can awaken grief and I’m overwhelmed all over again.
  • My heart breaks and I’m back to square one: angry, confused, and devastated.
  • Grief comes in all shapes and sizes and affects everyone differently.
  • I’m healing by being present for my family and soaking in those moments we have. Helping others, especially veterans, is helping me heal.
  • Keep holidays as stress-free as possible to allow space to relax and enjoy those who choose to add love and happiness into your life.

I’d like to tell you just hold tight and it will eventually get better but it may not. The experience may change but the absence of the voice, touch, smell, or laugh of the ones I’ve lost remains.

I’ve trained myself to respond differently and to push through certain things and take care of my physical, emotional, and mental health but it’s not BETTER. 

Celebrating the holidays while grieving a loved one isn’t easy but is possible. It will just be different than it was before.

You may also like: 

How to Stay Healthy with Grief after Death of a Loved One

5 Ways To Stay Healthy After the Loss of a Loved One

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