3 Ways to Survive the Holidays After Someone Dies

The holidays can be amazing. They can also be tough for the broken-hearted. Do you miss someone who used to sit at your Christmas table?

Here are a few things you can do to help ease the pain during the holidays.

1. Tell the truth about yourself. 

Have you ever said, “I’m fine” when you weren’t? Sure, it can seem easier to pretend like you’re fine or isolate yourself. You might think talking about your loss is a burden to others, or be afraid that if you talk about it you’ll never stop crying. 

I’ve had the same thoughts since my dad died and can tell you from experience, bottling up your feelings only prolongs the pain. If you’re sitting around the table and something funny happens, it’s okay to laugh. If you’re sitting around the table and you feel sad, it’s okay to cry. 

Don’t know what to say? When you have a feeling of sadness or loneliness, etc., say to one of your trusted people, “In this moment, I feel very sad,” or very alone, or whatever you feel. That way, the moment can pass, and you can go to the next moment. That way you get it out.

Amazing things happen when you tell the truth: Other people feel safe to open up too, your kids get to see a healthy example of walking through grief, and you get relief too.

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2. Write a PS Letter

You know how after someone you love dies you can’t stop thinking about things you wish you would have said, or moments you wish you could share? Grab a pen and paper and write a letter to them.

“Dear Dad,

I have been reviewing our relationship and discovered some things I need to tell you.

Dad, The whole family is here sitting around the table and I’m devastated that you aren’t here with us. I thought you’d be with us for the next 20 years and I feel so sad that we can’t share holidays with you anymore.

I want to let go of that pain so I can be free. I love you Dad”

Then, if you can find a safe person who will listen without offering advice or analysis, read it to them.

This is a way to find short term relief in the moment. Ultimately you’ll want to go through the Grief Recovery Method to get complete with the entire loss, but for now this is a great small step. 

3. Pay attention to your actions

Also, consider paying attention to what you might do to avoid your feelings. Do you drink too much, overeat, lose yourself in television, or stay obsessively busy? Those are only a few of the ways people try to avoid their feelings.  And while those activities often work temporarily, they prolong the emotional pain, and often make you feel worse about yourself.

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Oftentimes people think that we are saying the Grief Recovery Method will take away sadness. We don’t even mean that. It’s normal to feel sad and miss someone. 

  • Using the Grief Recovery Method does mean you can have your normal feelings of sadness rather than avoiding them. It means you can get back in the moment to enjoy the holiday.
  • It means that you’ll no longer have regrets about the things you wish you could have said or done when the person you miss was still here.
  • It means that even though the holiday is hard, you don’t have to avoid it completely (but know it’s okay if you want to change some traditions).
  • It means that you can be present for your kids and allow them to have whatever feelings might come up for them.
  • It means that, although your heart is broken, you won’t feel like you’re living in a nightmare.

If the holidays are hard for you, that’s okay. I just hope you know that you don’t have to feel pain every moment, at every holiday forever.

My wish for you is that you may find peace, and if you are still searching, that you would allow us to help. Please click here if you are open to healing your heart in the new year. 

For more help with your own grief recovery, DOWNLOAD your FREE guide, “Myths About Grief: 6 Major Concepts That Prevent You From Moving Forward.”

This article was written by Allison James from The Grief Recovery Method Institute.

Anne Storino leaning against bookshelf

Hi, I’m Anne,

I help those who have experienced loss open their heart again, recover from grief, and find peace and joy.

I would love to hear your story and help you learn to move forward.

Schedule your free consultation.