Lady with blond hair and blue sweater smiling

Christmas can be a very difficult time for those who have lost a loved one. Whether the death was recent or many years ago, the lead up through Christmas and the day itself, can be tough when many others will be celebrating.

Treetops Therapeutic Services Senior Counsellor, Julie Wright, explains that letting people know how you are feeling and what you might need can make a big difference to how you cope:

There's no right way to grieve after the death of a loved one

“Sometimes the first Christmas without your loved one can be the most difficult, or it still can be a struggle some years later. There’s no right way to grieve.

This is a time to be really kind to yourself. Any feelings associated with your bereavement are a natural part of the grieving process and are individual to you.

Other advice includes:

Acknowledge Christmas Day and its impact on you

  • It is likely to be a more challenging day than normal. As well as finding it difficult yourself  you may have others grieving around you. Remember everyone grieves differently and at their own pace. Talking to others might help you negotiate how you manage Christmas together as you need to, and support each other according to how you all feel - allowing for times to be together and space apart if you need it
  • Alternatively, you may want company and to share special memories. It’s important to do what feels right for you

Remembering the person who has died

Consider if there is anything you would like to do to remember your loved one this Christmas. Find ways to connect with their memory that feel meaningful to you.

  • You may want to set a place at your Christmas dinner table for your loved one or raise a glass in their memory
  • You could visit a favourite place of theirs, or visit their resting place with something to commemorate the day such as a photo, some music, their preferred drink, or a special object
  • Online tributes can also be a helpful way of reflecting on how much your loved one meant to you. Perhaps post a message or photo on social media or share a video with family and friends.

Treetops is here if you need more help

At Treetops, we understand that everyone grieves differently.

“Everyone feels emotion and grief when they’ve experienced a bereavement and that’s normal. Treetops is here if you feel like you need a bit of extra help.”