Grief is a normal, healthy reaction to experiencing a bereavement – it is a different experience for all of us and is not something we should shy away from. Grief, at any time of the year, but perhaps more so over Christmas, should be embraced and managed rather than pushed aside or hidden.
To help navigate such emotionally challenging times, here are some suggestions which we hope may help you and your family to manage your grief.
1. Share your grief
Talk about the person or people who are no longer with you, being open and saying their name or sharing stories from the past will help others to feel closer. There is a perception that it's appropriate to not talk about the person or people who are no longer present to spare the feelings of others, but the truth is that by talking about them, you will feel closer.
2. Don’t skip on traditions
Similarly, people feel that it is better to skip on traditions out of respect for the person who is no longer there, again to not want to cause offense or upset to others. But in truth, keeping these traditions alive is the best way to keep the memory of the person who has died close to you.
3. Make time for your grief
Whilst Christmas is a wonderful opportunity to take some much-needed downtime, it can also become a source of stress in all the preparations, wrapping, cooking and socialising, with to-do lists pages long. Taking the time out to express your feelings and show your grief is a perfectly healthy thing to do – in many ways allowing yourself to feel your grief opens up the deepest part of yourself. Your grief isn’t something you should hide away, give yourself both the chance and the time to fully express it.
4. Be kind to yourself
Christmas time is hard, but it’s a time that can be extra difficult when you are grieving. Try to remember to be kind to yourself and allow yourself to spend this Christmas and all future Christmases to be filled with joy and grief. Grief is not something you ‘get over’, but is something you learn to live with – so always remember to be gentle and kind with yourself.
For further support on how you can manage your grief, there are various organisations and charities which can help following the death of someone close. We have listed some below, but there are many local ones too, who offer tremendous support.
There are various organisations which can help following the death of someone close.
- Cruse Bereavement Care – 0808 808 1677 (Weekdays, 9.30am-5pm. Open until 8pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday)
- Grief Encounter – 0808 802 0111 (Weekdays, 9am-9pm)
- The Laura Centre – 0116 2182140 (Tuesday-Thursday, 12.30am-2.30pm)
- Bereavement Advice Centre – 0800 634 9494 (Weekdays, 9am-5pm)
- The Compassionate Friends – 0345 123 2304 (UK National helpline, open every day from 10am-4pm and 7pm-10pm)