Hurting During the Holidays

I recently attended a funeral for a young woman whose life was cut short leaving a grieving husband and two children and a plethora of family and friends dreading the thought of facing the holidays without her.  And I wondered – how are they to get through this holiday season?

For millions of people who have suffered a loss of a loved one, the holidays can be filled with loneliness, anger and grief with little to feel thankful for let alone the feeling of expectation that the season itself is somehow going to make you feel better.  These feelings are normal whether its your first holiday or your 10th holiday without them.

Dignity Memorial has five tips for managing grief during the holidays:

  1. Stay or go – it’s up to you. Don’t feel guilty about how you want to spend the holidays.  Its important to take care of your needs.  You may choose to stay home alone visiting your memories or need to be in the company of others to help the void or the difference during this holiday season.
  2. Play it by ear. You don’t have to accept or decline invitations to those holiday parties in advance.  Explain the holiday may be difficult for you and you would like to leave the decision for the day of the party.  Hopefully, your host or hostess will understand.
  3. Change the tradition. Maybe you have traditionally hosted the holiday party but feel overwhelmed with the thought of it.  You might prefer to enjoy the party as a guest rather than a host.  If traditions can be too hard or too different without your loved one – change the location, time or type of celebration.  The change can lessen the pain and encourage the start of new ones.
  4. Include your lost loved one in celebrations (I personally love this one)

When the one you love is gone from your life, a huge whole can be felt and even seen.  Rather than ignore it, embrace it and find a way to keep them in the family celebration. Perhaps when handing out presents, each family member can share a memory of their loved one as a present to them and keep them included in the family celebration.

  1. Donate a gift in their honor. Sometimes the act of shopping for the holiday seems to accentuate the loss, especially when you see all the things your loved one might have enjoyed.  Why not buy that item and donate it to someone in need? Wrap it and put it under the tree and then donate it to a non-profit gift drive in their honor.  This act can feel truly cathartic and honors the memory while helping someone else.

Remember, missing someone you love is natural and how you choose to cope with it may vary year to year and change as time goes by.  Share your feelings with family and friends because while you think you should be strong and act like nothing is affecting you; they may be struggling with many of the same feelings as you.  By sharing you allow others to feel and heal as well.  Speaking and sharing memories can often ease the pain of holiday gatherings for those who grieve while keeping loves ones close to your heart this holiday season.

May you feel God’s presence and Jesus’s arms envelope you as you journey through the hurting and healing of loss during the holidays.

God says “I made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you”   Isaiah 46:4 (NIV) 

 O Lord, my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.  Psalm 30:2


Thank you for reading my post.  If you have found it encouraging please consider liking, commenting or sharing it.  Feel free to even re-blog – may these words take flight!

I  have additional insights I’d love to share with you found in the pages of my debut book: Surviving Medical Mayhem – Laughing When It Hurts.  To order a copy or learn more go to my website at

Blessings for Health & Wellness.


Comments (2)

  1. Loretta,
    Thank you for these words today. Steve died November 24 so this holiday season is quite different.
    Blessings to you and Thad.
    Merry Christmas!

    December 8, 2023 at 7:02 am
    1. Oh, Kelly, I am so sorry to hear about Steve’s passing. May you find peace that he is no longer suffering and comfort in the memories of laughter and love that you two shared. I know we were blessed that God brought you both into our lives even for that short time. My prayers are for supernatural peace as you move through this time. May you feel God’s presence in the Holy Spirit that surrounds you and abides in you.

      December 8, 2023 at 7:12 am

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *