Surviving the First Christmas Without Your Loved One
The holidays are a time of sharing and celebrating the magic of the season with loved ones. It’s unbearable to think of celebrating Christmas when your loved one is no longer with you. The first Christmas after the death of a loved one is overwhelming with grief. Nothing seems the same, and it’s as if Christmas has lost its joy.
If you are facing your first Christmas holiday without your loved one, you are not alone. There have been so many loses since the pandemic. It is important to take time to reflect on the lives lost and connect with those left behind grieving. This can help each of us be a healer and lessen the pain. These suggestions can help you cope with your grief and reassure you that memories of your loved one will live on in others.
1. Don’t force Christmas to be the same. Trying to do old traditions without your loved one may backfire and cause more sadness. Put some traditions on hold the first year and consider trying something new. Give yourself permission to do what you need. Taking a trip or doing something to honor your loved one may feel more meaningful and ease your grief.
2. Give others space to grieve the loss of your loved one. You may have lost a spouse, a dad, or a mom and each person will grieve in a different way. Allowing everyone to share what they need to survive the first Christmas will help connect the family as they grieve the loss together.
3. Be patient with yourself. Slow down and don’t rush yourself to get through this. It’s also important to allow yourself to cry and feel the loss. There is no timeline that says you need to grieve and let go by a specific date. Be honest with yourself and others and understand that each day will be a little bit different.
4. Give yourself permission to enjoy Christmas Day. It’s easy to think that we shouldn’t be happy or enjoy the holidays again after our loss, but nothing could be further from the truth. Your loved one would want you to be happy. Appreciate the moments of joy while accepting it may never feel as it did when your loved one was with you to share the day.
5. Take each moment of Christmas day as it comes. Grief is difficult and it comes in waves. You may feel lighthearted at times and a crying mess during other times. This is a healthy sign that your love was deep and feeling the depth of your loss without denying your emotions can help you move forward in a positive manner.
The holidays are a special time for those we love. Grieving the loss of your significant other, parent, or child can feel almost unbearable at this time of year. Be open and accept the love from others and remind yourself that grief, although painful, is a sign of your love for this person. In a world where love seems hard to find, take comfort in the fact that you shared love and because of your love, the memories of this person will strengthen you to love and find joy again.