Christmas Without A Loved One
Christmas Without A Loved One
One of the most searched phrases this time of year is “Christmas without a loved one.” As a hospice we realise that this can be a particularly difficult time of year, especially if you have lost someone very close to you.
The first thing to remember is that grief is a very personal experience. Everybody experiences grief in their own way. Every feeling that you may feel is ok and it is part of the grieving process. You might be feeling very different feelings to other family members and this is ok too.
Christmas can be an incredibly hard time of the year. Thinking of Christmas can conjure up images of celebrations, family gatherings, joyous times….. but for those who are bereaved it can bring with it feelings of dread and loneliness.
Whether this is the first or the twentieth year without your loved one, Mary Ann recognizes how hard this time of year can be. We hope the following will provide some help on how to manage this difficult time of year.
- Grief is incredibly personal and is ever changing. What you want to do this year might be very different to what you wanted to do last year. You may have different thoughts and feelings compared to other family members or friends, even if you all had a relationship with the person that died. Remember to do what feels right for you and not be pressured to do what others want.
- Often the lead up to Christmas is worse than the actual day. Put Christmas decorations up if you want to, or choose not to. Send Christmas cards if that feels right for you. Include your loved one’s name on the card or draw a star or a heart to represent them if that feels easier. Ask family or friends to help with present buying if it feels too much to go into town and do it yourself, or make an agreement that you won’t be buying presents this year.
- Make plans in advance, but be flexible with them. People often feel daunted at the prospect of a Christmas on their own, or a Christmas surrounded by friends and family. Choose what feels right for you, but try to have options depending on how you feel on the day. For example, if you agree to visit family at Christmas then buy some nice food to keep in the freezer at home in case you change your mind on the day.
- You may wish to create ways to honor your loved one on Christmas day. That may be creating a place setting for them, visiting their grave or raising a glass in their memory.
- Remember that however you spend the day, everything you are feeling and thinking is ok and valid. There may be points in the day when you feel very sad and low and others that are easier to manage. You must do what is right for you.
- Support is always available for you over the festive period via the following services:
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