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Coping with Loss at Christmas

“Happy Christmas!” - a lovely sentiment if you’re feeling full of Christmas cheer, but for people who have experienced a significant loss, Christmas is often a difficult time. Christmas can be a wonderful time of year, but it’s unique as there is no other time of year where there can be such high expectations to be ‘perfect’: the perfect decorations, perfect food and presents, Christmas TV and perfect family times with loved ones.

Christmas is a time when loneliness can hurt more than ever as it can seem as though the rest of the world is surrounded by love and laughter. If this Christmas is particularly difficult because you are grieving the death of a loved one, it may help to find a way to remember the one you love in a way that feels special and helps you to stay feeling connected in some way.

Death ends a life, not a relationship. By this I mean that when someone close to us dies, there are lots of ways to continue to have a bond with them which can be helpful.

  • Talk about the person with others, especially friends and relatives.
  • Visit somewhere special that had meaning for both of you.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk aloud to the person.
  • Write a poem or letter to the person who died, expressing your thoughts, feelings and memories.
  • Memory boxes can be a good way to stay connected. They are particularly useful for children but work just as well for adults.
  • Lighting a candle for your loved one can be a beautiful way to remember them.

One way you could choose to remember your loved one and join with others who similarly want to remember someone they miss, is to take part in the Lake of Lights event in December. This event organised by Rowans Hospice is open to everyone who has someone special they want to remember, whether or not they have been cared for at Rowans.

If you are missing someone important this Christmas, please be kind to yourself and try not to feel that you should rush your grief. Some memories might trigger different emotions: distress, sadness, regret, but also sometimes a smile – these are perfectly normal. It’s ok not to be ok.

I hope that in amongst any sadness this Christmas, you find some moments of beauty and even laughter too. If you would like to join with others who want to remember loved ones Rowans Hospice would love to welcome you at the Lake of Lights on Friday 16th December at Canoe Lake, please go online to find out more at

Posted on Wed, December 14 2016