Holidays are coming and I’m still grieving

Charlie Brown Christmas TreeThe kids are back in school and Halloween is fast approaching. Thanksgiving is just around the corner and the stores are gearing up for the holiday shopping season already. This time of year is difficult for those who aren’t grieving the death of someone close to them. But those of us who grieve our loved ones, this can be the most difficult three months of our year.  Every year I tell myself that it this year will be better than the last.

It doesn’t matter if your loved one died recently, or in my case seven years ago, holidays bring joy and family celebrations that may bring back good memories that can be painful to remember. I have found that the more I remember and share with others, the easier it becomes for me. It allows everyone to be open with one another and eases the unspoken tension in the room.  I let other know that it is OK to talk openly with me about my husband; I want people to say his name and share stories with our family. It helps us keep his memory alive.  So I invite you to share memories and pictures of the past. It will allow you to open your heart and joy to enter in.

I have come up with a list of do’s and don’ts that may help you this holiday season.


  • Share stories and memories over dinner
  • Talk about your feelings openly with others
  • Let others know what they can do to help you
  • Make a toast or read a poem as you celebrate their life
  • Accept a few invitations to celebrate the holidays with family and friends
  • Be honest with yourself and your emotions, embrace them as they come
  • Make some new traditions that feel right for you
  • Shop on line if shopping in stores are difficult for you
  • Eat healthy, exercise and get plenty of rest
  • You may want extra support, check out local support groups


  • Don’t isolate yourself from the season – remember moderation is a key
  • Don’t deny your feelings – acknowledge them,  maybe try journaling
  • Don’t be afraid to cry – crying is very therapeutic for the soul
  • Don’t stress over the holidays – remember that tomorrow is a new day
  • Don’t forget your loved one – embrace the memories
  • Don’t be afraid to let people help you – they may be grieving too

So this holiday season, be honest with yourself and others. Allow the joy and love to warm your soul. May you find comfort and peace in your heart during this upcoming holiday season.


About Dawn Rehrauer

Dawn is a Bereavement Counselor, and co-founder of Grief Relief, at Agnesian HealthCare. She has been working in this area for five years. She is passionate about helping those that have lost a significant person in their lives through their grieving process. Dawn can be reached by emailing

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