HANDLING HOLIDAY GRIEF #2: Why Holidays are Hard and What You Can Do About It

 “Bah, humbug!” we want to shout.

Or perhaps something worse.

In my last article, Holiday Grief #1: Holidays? Yeah, Right 


BEATING HOLIDAY GRIEF #1: Hurting for the Holidays- from Gary Roe - Author, Speaker on Vimeo.

We said holidays are hard enough without our loss staring us in the face. When we’re immersed in grief, holidays can become an over-whelming, even terrifying burden.

Lurking behind a lot of our holiday stress is a sneaky, unseen culprit known as expectations.

Let’s face it. We have expectations. Others have expectations. The world and society do too. Trying to juggle these in the midst of a loss is like herding cats or having a screen door on a submarine. It doesn’t work.

So here’s the key: YOU get to choose.

YOU get to choose…

  • What you want to do
  • How you want to do it
  • And with whom.

This year is different. You’re grieving. And you won’t grieve well or honor your loved if you simply go with the flow or let the past dictate what should happen this year.

Again, YOU get to choose.

How do you do that?

  1. Take yourself seriously. Be nice to you. Your loved one would want that. This is a way you can honor them. What’s good and beneficial for YOU this year?
  2. Learn to say, “NO.” It’s okay. So what if someone gets upset? Try saying, “This year is going to be hard without my loved one, so I’m going to do things differently. I hope you’ll understand.”
  3. Let go of guilt. It’s not your responsibility to meet everyone’s expectations (you can’t anyway, so you’re doomed to failure from the beginning). Do what’s good for you.

YOU get to choose.

Yes, you can be proactive. Decide beforehand. As you take yourself seriously, you’ll be grieving well and honoring your loved one at the same time. And ironically, if you do what’s good for you, it’s usually good for others too. You end up loving others just by being honest about your grief.

I have two more articles on Holiday Grief, so stay tuned. The next one will be on how to do these holidays WITH your loved one, rather than WITHOUT them.

Your life has changed forever. These holidays will be different, but they can still be good.

The video version of this article

BEATING HOLIDAY GRIEF #2: Why Holidays are Hard from Gary Roe - Author, Speaker on Vimeo.

I also have prepared a brief, free e-book to help – I Miss You: A Holiday Survival Kit. Download it at www.garyroe.com/imissyou

About the Author

Gary Roe is an author, speaker, and chaplain with Hospice Brazos Valley. He is the author of the award-winning bestsellers Shattered: Surviving the Loss of a Child, Please Be Patient, I'm Grieving, HEARTBROKEN: Healing from the Loss of a Spouse, and Surviving the Holidays without You and the co-author (with New York Times Bestseller Cecil Murphey) of Saying Goodbye: Facing the Loss of a Loved One. Visit him at www.garyroe.com.

I'm Grieving, Now What?