Grieving during the “Happiest Time of the Year”

There is no good time or easier time to grieve. The first year is especially hard as new “firsts” are being lived through-such as birthdays, anniversaries, and of course holidays. There is a supposition that the first year is the most awful for grief, and to an extent, this can be true. However, no one truly “gets over” a death of a person they loved. They might incorporate that loss into their daily life and construct a new normal, but this is different from “moving on”.


Holidays are the time of the year that bring up the memory of the person we lost. How could they not when traditions were formed or carried out with this person in our midst.  The ways in which we celebrate inherently brings to mind remembrances, which can be both comforting and painful—sometimes simultaneously. Given that not everyone can opt out of the holidays (they seem to occur around us even if we aren’t taking party), here are some ideas to make this season just a tiny bit easier.


  1. Make plans. Your plans don’t have to be elaborate or follow past traditions. Being alone when everyone else is with family or friends can feel even more isolating.
  2. Share memories. Talk about who you miss and what you miss about him or her during this time of year. Share memories with others that knew this person or let someone who didn’t know what they were missing.
  3. Set time aside. There can be a give and take when it comes to occupying yourself. Total isolation is not the goal, but taking some time for yourself can be helpful.
  4. Self care. This is essential throughout the entire year. Continue practices of relaxation, meditation, exercise—even though you might not feel like it.
  5. Don’t apologize. Grief is a normal part of the human experience. Don’t feel you need to apologize for tears, should they come through.


What do you need to manage the holidays while grieving?