We are in the midst of what Andy Williams proclaimed as “the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” However, holidays can be a particularly difficult time following the death of a loved one.

Marie Curie, a UK organization that provides support for those suffering with terminal illness and their families, has published a list of coping strategies for those dealing with the loss of a partner or parent during the holiday season. Their tips include:

  • Do things differently. If normal traditions are too painful, try something new.
  • Allow yourself to grieve. Acknowledge that the holidays will be difficult.
  • Accept that you may not want to celebrate. You don’t need to socialize if you don’t want to.
  • Visit a garden. Gardens are a great, quiet space to reflect on your loss.
  • Tell others how you wish to spend your time. Choose what you want to do and don’t feel guilty.
  • Be kind to yourself. Take a guilt-free nap.
  • Reach out for support if you think you need it.
  • Involve children in decisions on how they want to spend their time.
  • Have quiet time to reflect on the good times.
  • Don’t feel guilty if you have moments of enjoyment.
  • Talk about favourite memories.

For other tips, see Psychology Today, “How to Deal with Grief During the Holidays”, or Harvard Health Publishing, “Coping with grief and loss during the holidays”.

Whatever your situation, may your days be as merry and bright as possible.

Paul Trudelle