We all know that this holiday break can be overwhelming for a million different reasons. For those who are grieving – whether it is year 1, 2 or 32 of missing a loved one – it can be filled with anxiety, fear and a feeling of forced festive smiles.

This is number 7 without Mum; less shitty than some years, shittier than others. Tricky to predict how you may feel or deal with the days. One minute you’re wishing everyone Seasons’s Greetings – the next, you’re ready to kick the tree over.

After hiding from the blog for so long, I felt sure about speaking out at this time. This evening, I am sharing words of advice and insights on coping over Christmas, gathered from some lovely folk I have asked, snippets from the Interweb and some messages from my latest postcard campaign for Let’s Talk About Loss


”As a society, we must be mindful of the fact that not everyone has family, not everyone has a roof over their heads and not everyone is in the mood to celebrate at Christmas. 

Anyone who has ever lost a loved one will know that this expectation of merriment and joy is in stark conflict with the pain and loss of grief. It is important therefore, to not feel pressurised to make plans with friends and family or outwardly adopt high spirits that you are not comfortable with.

If you want to spend the day with your cat instead of with family or friends, or if you feel fragile or sensitive and fancy some down time – do it. Be true to what you feel and don’t let anyone or anything tell you otherwise. ”

Meera Elbay, Founder, Your New Normal (UK community empowering bereaved young adults to share their experiences of grief)


– Professor Green on Twitter


“Cry. Laugh. Eat. Drink. Talk. Cry. Scream. Hug. Call. Ask for help. Run. Cry a bit more. Start the conversation. Share. Care.”

– Anon (Read more postcards here)


“If you have lost someone close to you, Christmas can be such a difficult and emotionally challenging time. My Dad had been ill with depression and very sadly took his own life just after Christmas.

The first Christmas without my Dad was very strange and as a family just being together to support each other really helped. Even 20 years on since his death we still find it hard to talk about my Dad and not just at Christmas. However, what I have found to be really helpful for me is to keep some of my Dad’s Christmas traditions alive.

Every Christmas my Dad would put a satsuma, nuts and a lump of coal in our stockings. We would watch Top of The Pops together and always had to stop eating the turkey when the Queen came on the telly.

It is these little but significant traditions in the day that I now do for my own children to quietly reflect about my Dad and hopefully Top of the Pops Christmas special is still going!”

John Salmon, Mental Health Campaigner


This will be my third Christmas without my mum and although it is getting less strange to not have mum around, it is still one of the worst times of the year as I am forced to remember past Christmas memories, and not able to make any new ones with her. 

My advice – to anyone grieving, and to myself – is to have the Christmas you want, whatever that looks like. If traditions are too difficult – make your own, new traditions.
..
Prioritise yourself and your mental health, and remember that you are not alone. If you’re lonely, check out Sarah Millican‘s awesome Christmas Twitter chat using the hashtag #joinin, and reach out to friends and family, and tell them if you’re struggling. You can, and you will, get through this.”
..
– Beth Rowland, Founder of Let’s Talk About Loss (LTAL is a support network for 16 – 30 yr olds who have been bereaved)

“It’s shit.”

– Anon (Read more postcards here)


Griefcast on Twitter (Griefcast is a podcast by Cariad Lloyd, featuring comedians speaking openly about death and bereavement)


I hope you find your way through as best you can…

(I’ll be tweeting on @60Postcards on Xmas day.)

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2 thoughts on “Coping at Christmas: Words of advice for those who have lost

  1. I luckily am not in the position where I have lost a someone dear to me in my family, so I can’t possibly imagine what it feels like. All I can say is, my thoughts are with you. Your Mum was very dear to me Rachael. She is often in my thoughts, especially at this time of year and always is part of our family toast. Seven years seems a long time, but I am sure it does not to you and although life moves on, it doesn’t change the past or the sense of loss. Much love to you and all those who find this time of year especially hard.

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