Grief and the Holidays

For many people, the holiday season is a special time of year. We often gather with friends and family and enjoy lots of food and good conversation.  For those who are grieving the death of a loved one, the holidays may be a difficult time with feelings of sadness.

Grief is very personal and unique to each person and comes in all different forms. There is no right way to grieve and there is no time limit. No one grieves the same, and the best way you can help is by letting that person know you care.

Here are more suggestions on supporting someone who is grieving, from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization:

  • If he or she wants to talk about the deceased loved one or feelings associated with the loss, LISTEN. Active listening from friends is an important step to helping him or her heal. Don’t worry about being conversational…. just listen.
  • Never tell someone that he or she should be “over it.” Instead, give the person hope that, eventually, he or she will enjoy the holidays again.
  • Donate a gift or money in memory of the person’s loved one. Remind the person that his or her special person is not forgotten.
  • Remind the person you are thinking of him or her and the loved one who died. Cards, phone calls and visits are great ways to stay in touch.
  • Be supportive of the way the person chooses to handle the holidays. Some may wish to follow traditions; others may choose to change their rituals. Remember, there is no right way or wrong way to handle the holidays.

Remember to not be afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing, because showing concern and making an effort will be appreciated.

For those who are grieving, there are a few ways to help you cope with your grief during this time. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Take care of yourself physically. Exercise, eat a well-balanced diet and make sure to get plenty of rest.
  • It’s ok to experience a variety of emotions. No one grieves the same and it’s ok to feel sad and cry, and it’s ok to feel good. These are normal and healthy reactions.
  • Find someone who will listen to you. If you do not have someone you can talk to, Cedar Valley Hospice has grief counseling available at no cost.

For more information on Cedar Valley Hospice grief support services and a list of our grief support groups, call 319.272.2002 or click on one of the links below:

Grief support services

Grief support groups