Dealing With Loss During the Holidays

Discussion Board Forums Grief Management Dealing With Loss During the Holidays

  • This topic has 32 replies, 18 voices, and was last updated 8 years ago by darla.
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    Karen…many times I simply went through the motions of important events and I have to say that it does become easier as time goes on. Our Dr. Giles once said the following: “I would gently suggest to you that the depth of your feelings are a testament to the significance of the place your loved one has in your life. The magnitude of your pain and devastation signifies how precious he was to you–and that’s a good thing. Your sorrow is a result of the loss of a good man.”

    To date, almost five years after my husband’s passing I find comfort in these words.
    I wish for a peaceful New Year.
    All my best,


    Yes, Karen, it gets easier, never the same as it was but easier. What kind of people would we be and how much would we have loved if we didn’t feel the emotions we do. The harder you loved the harder the missing. Maybe this will help a little, I really like this verse:

    Do not stand at my grave and weep;
    I am not there. I do not sleep.
    I am a thousand winds that blow.
    I am the diamond glints on snow.
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
    I am the gentle autumn’s rain,
    When you awaken in the morning’s hush,
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circled flight.
    I am the soft stars that shine at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry;
    I am not there. I did not die.


    Christmas was hard for us this year as well. All that we could do was keep trucking through, and to be honest, in the weeks coming up to Christmas, there were days that I just wished it would be over. Our son helped me through – kids can do that, and I’m glad to say that it is over and hope that next year is better. it was especially hard to walk into the stores and see gifts that were annual presents (especially favorite chocolates), then have to walk by them and not pick up a box. UGH. Does it get easier???


    Michelle….you are allowing yourself to “grief” in your very own way and that I believe is one of the most important steps to take when losing a loved one. It doesn’t come natural to us. We are left with a gap in our lives and somehow this gap has to be filled again. . At times it does feel surreal and almost possible to imagine that life can go on without that person and yet we do because, we are equipped with an enormous amount of resilience – the very same resilience that guided us throughout. You have it, Michelle, it is quite apparent. Know that many good thoughts are coming your way.
    All my best wishes,


    Dear Michelle – I’m sorry you’re going through this. “Firsts” are difficult, but your first is so new. Under the circumstances, I believe you get to put yourself above the rest and do what is good for yourself. Healing and recovery is in store for you now.


    Dearest Michelle, always remember, you are in your own shoes and this is your grief and you do what you feel best. I am happy to hear you are using the words ‘nice’ as that is a beginning and it takes time to get to ‘good’ which is why I always say, ‘my new normal’. Remember that you have not only lost your Mom but there is a downtime to go through for the mode of Care Taker that you were in and that has to work it’s way through as well. You did well, you will be well as that is what your Mom would have wanted. Please let us know how you are doing, we miss you.


    Thank you Pamela. I always appreciate your thoughts. At least we expect to feel this way right now. I don’t know if it would be normal or healthy to go on like nothing has happened.

    How is your daughter doing? I haven’t kept up with the message boards too much lately. Last I knew her tumor shrunk… Wonderful news. Also, I think she was not able to get chemo…I know how upset my mom would be when she couldn’t get her chemo, but the timing was always perfect. Gave her a little break. Always thinking of you two.


    Dear Michelle,

    I am so sorry that you are so sad. I wish there was something I could say or do to make you feel better. I think you are going through the grieving process and you gotta do what you think is best. Nobody can force you to be in the holiday mood. I understand what you mean when people complain about the most trivial things. Sometimes I just want to scream at them and say well at least your daughter doesn’t have cancer, but I never do. I just think it in my head. Some people don’t have a clue what people with CC or for that matter, any other cancer, go through or the people that take care of them. But we do and that is why everyone here is special. Please take care of yourself and I hope in time things will get easier. You have many friends here if you feel like talking or venting. Take care.

    Love, -Pam


    It has only been three weeks for me, so I am not even attempting christmas this year. My husband thinks it will be good to be with family, his family. My dad passed away in 94 and my mom three weeks ago. I still have my step father. He is not sure what he wants to do. I just can’t be in a place to talk to people, much less hear people complain that the stove or oven doesn’t function properly.

    I did tell him before, if something did happen to my mom I would go away. However, money is tight now, so no vacation. I might just go to her vacation home. She loved being there.

    My step dad was sweet and put up all of my moms x-mas lights and decorations. She loved Christmas. I won’t be putting anything up this year. I would just like to skip it this year…I will try again next year.

    I am keeping all of you in my thoughts and hope you all are able to make a nice holiday for yourself. I use the word nice a lot now. I can’t say good or great…things and days are just nice.


    The season has just begun and I am already having a rough time. Nine months ago my husband passed away to cc, then I lost my Mom last week.
    So, it is a double loss. She had been in a nursing home for three years, when Wayne passed I spent my evenings after work with her. Now what?
    Last night I went to my weekly grief couseling, I thought I was getting a little better then this. I have been going to therapy since June, I’m told one thing that I’ve been a caregiver for 30 years, now I’m suddenly not in that role. I tried to go with my daughter like we do traditionly every year the day after Thanksgiving, I was not in spirit of the day, I was home by 6:30 am. This year I have to deal with two major losses. Please keep me in your prayers.


    To all – The other thing I forgot to mention is that I try not to focus on the date of John’s death….it’s so painful and just an awful reminder of what he went through. Instead, I put all my energy into John’s birthday — a wonderful day in my life. I ask all our friends and family to do something special and kind on his birthday as a tribute to him and what he stood for. In this way, I am not remembering his death, but am remembering his life and the thirty years that I was blessed to have him as a son and as my friend. As much as humanly possible, I attempt to go through the anniversary of his death as a “normal” day and I try not to dwell on it. I know this won’t work for everyone, but it is what worked for me and my husband. Believe me, it is not that we don’t remember….but as best as we can….we try to remember only the good stuff. Hope this helps someone else…..Nancy


    Blessings to you and congratulations on getting through it. Nothing seems harder than learning to get along without one we loved so much. Hope you have plans this year to keep it changed a little to reduce the sense of loss that naturally comes with the holidays. Keep lovin’ on the children. Blessings, Susan


    Last year, I changed things up for the holidays. My husband and I went to a relative’s house and spent time with family (not in our own home). It was easier than being home and wallowing in our sadness. We surrounded ourselves with friends, family and children. The children always make it easier! I went to bed early … as an escape. But that was o.k. I got through it!


    Thank you for addressing this issue. My father died on Dec 29 years ago and now Mom is sick with cc and looks like we could have a bleak holiday season again. I welcome all ideas to make the holidays fun for the little ones, meaningful for the adults, and not dreary for any of us. It always makes the good times a little less fun when there is a memory of a missing loved one. I think the memorial service is a lovely idea for the family to share and move on from their grief.


    Thank you Stacie, for bringing up this topic.

    Being in the UK, we don’t have to endure the pain of Thanksgiving without our special person. Christmas is huge here, and a really important family time.

    Everything bad with Alan’s cc seemed to happen at Christmas time – diagnosis on 15th December, return of the disease with a vengeance at his last Christmas, and then he passed the following 21st December. So, a time that was once such a happy time and full of our little family traditions that we had built up over the years turned into the saddest of times.

    On Alan’s first anniversary we had a memorial service for him at our beautiful village church, which enabled everyone who loved him to get together and share readings and specially written pieces with each other, which none of us had been able to do at the funeral service when the grief was just too raw. It was truly a celebration of Alan’s life, and I found that a great help and I know my son did, too.

    Since then we have marked Alan’s anniversary in our home each year with an Open House on the Sunday closest to the date, to which all friends and family are free to come – not to be sad, but to share good memories, have something to eat and raise a glass or two. In this way, I tend to focus on that day, which has become a special day for my son and myself, rather than on Christmas Day, which still remains a difficult one that just has to be got through the best way I can.

    With love to everyone with cc, caring for someone with cc, or who has lost someone to cc, and who is going through a hard time during the holiday season.


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