Wondering Through the Wintry World of Loss


It Isn't Easy

As we wander through the wintry world of loss, we doubt we will survive the month of December. We will get through it, but it won’t be easy. We may find unexpected comfort if we talk about our grief with others who are also feeling loss. Online grief support groups offer a safe way to express the strong emotions of grief.
New grief makes us fragile and we are never more fragile, or human, than in the last few frantic days before Christmas. The need to be happy bears down. The pathos of the season overwhelms us. For grievers left with only their memories, Christmas is a time of loneliness and isolation.

We can express the deeper meaning of the season by reaching out to those in need who are also struggling—the poor, the homeless, the sick, and the hungry. As we embrace other lonely people, we remember the reward: giving feels good. We would never have chosen this reward of giving in exchange for our loved one. Not ever. But if we are able to extend a helping hand, and someone takes hold of it, we are not alone anymore.

After a while we may learn that the cherished holiday memory of our loved one, once so painful, now eases the sharp edges of grief and spreads its arms to comfort us, but this will take time. Until then, how do we grieve while those around us are making merry?

One way is to stop and honor the one who has died. My mother once told me that she hoped I would “miss her a little” when she died, or her life would have been in vain. I miss you a lot, Mom!

During the first holiday season after Mom's death, my sister and I hosted a December luncheon at my sister’s house in memory of our mother. We served her favorite Christmas foods on the Christmas china that she gave us. We invited special family and friends. It was comforting to take a break from all the traditional festivities and spend an afternoon reminiscing with those who loved her, too. 

Click Wrestling with Holiday Traditions for ideas that combine mourning with seasonal activities.


Go to next page: Getting Through December (Surviving the season)

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How complicated and individual mending is,
the time required for healing
cannot be measured against any fixed calendar
Mary Jane Moffat
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