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December 20, 2019 Beyond The Dash

Grief on Christmas Day

Merry Christmas from Beyond the Dash

Grief on Christmas Day
Christmas Day will bring up memories of a loved one who is not able to share the day with you. Remember, you are not alone in grief this holiday season. (Shutterstock)

As Beyond the Dash celebrates its third Christmas as a modern community of life stories, we are thinking about those who are spending this Christmas steeped in fresh loss.

The first Christmas

If you've lost a close friend or family member this year, today is a hard day. The first Christmas without the person you miss will probably bring extreme sorrow. That sorrow could even rival the pain you felt in the first days following the loss. 

Putting up heirloom decorations, planning Christmas dinner and unwrapping gifts are all reminders that someone important is missing. The cheer of the day seems to ignore your pain. 

If Christmas was a cheerful time of joy with the deceased person each year, today will be tough. And unfortunately, the more special memories you have of them at this time of year, the harder it will be to celebrate Christmas in grief. 

It might be a day to seek out family or friends for reminiscing, gorge yourself on Christmas dinner and open presents. It might also be a day to find a place of solitude, cry and leave dinner early. 

Anything goes today. And tomorrow. The first holiday season is the hardest, so acknowledge it and be gentle with yourself. 

The subsequent Christmas 

It's not necessarily easier if this is the second, third, fourth or fifth Christmas after losing someone. Each year can bring a new set of grief complications.  

Whether or not you decided to De-Cheer Christmas this year, you don't get to control the grief you experience. 

In many families, Christmas is the one day of the year to put aside differences and try to be happy for the sake of the day. It is a season that sees a spike in charitable donations, random acts of kindness and concerted efforts to squash old beefs. Even though being unhappy during the Christmas season feels Grinch-ey, you might not be able to help it if you're grieving. 

You're not alone

Although Christmas is supposed to be the cheeriest time of the year, a lot of people are unhappy today. There are other people mourning this Christmas. Many people are stuck working. Others are stranded at the airport, unable to make it home for Christmas. People in your community might not have many family members or friends to celebrate with. People can be isolated. Some people feel suicidal on Christmas day. 

It might seem odd that such a happy time of the year is clouded by sorrow for so many. There is no need to dwell on grief any more than necessary. 

However, if your grief is so painful that it is unavoidable, consider connecting with others who are grieving. There are frequent meetup and support groups available around Christmas for those in a similar position to you. You can also connect with others in grief support chat rooms, such as Campfire. Another option could be volunteering to help the less fortunate, or visit a retirement home as a way to connect with others. 

Thinking of someone this Christmas? Tell their story 

If you are spending Christmas alone and are thinking about the person you miss, today might be the time to tell their story. Do you have special memories of past Christmases to share? Create an obituary on Beyond the Dash to keep that memory alive. 

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Merry Christmas 

From all of us at Beyond the Dash, we wish you the very best this Christmas. Thank you for sharing the special stories of your loved ones with us today, and through the year. 

Your loved one had a remarkable life. Tell their story, and we’ll publish it online for free.

After creating an online memorial, you can also publish in print in any of over 6,000 newspapers across North America.

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