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Grief and the Holidays

November 3, 2017 

Tiffany Cook, RN, BSN
Director Excelsior Springs Hospital Home Health and Hospice

Holidays are for spending time with family, celebration and joy, right? Well, yes but maybe not for everyone. For someone who has lost a loved one, this can be a difficult reminder of someone who is missing from the dinner table and a time of increased sadness and loneliness.  For many people the holidays are the hardest part of grieving, a time when we miss our loved ones even more than usual. When you have lost someone special, your world may lose the celebratory qualities and holidays only magnify this loss, the sadness feels sadder and the loneliness goes deeper. The need for support may be the greatest during the upcoming holidays.

You may ask yourself, “How will I make it through the holidays?” There really is no single answer for this question, the key to coping is finding the way that is right for you and doing what is comfortable. Some people find it is helpful to be around their friends and family while others wish to avoid old sights and sounds, perhaps even taking a trip over the holidays. Others may find new ways to acknowledge the season.

Some suggestions for coping with the holidays would include; planning for the holidays and being aware that this may be a difficult time for you. The additional stress may affect you emotionally, cognitively, and physically; this is a normal reaction. It is important to be prepared for these feelings. Look to simplify rather than overwhelm yourself. Do only as much as you can manage emotionally and physically.

Recognize that holidays won’t be the same. If you try to keep everything the same you may be disappointed. You may want to do things a little differently to acknowledge the change and still preserve the past. Creating new traditions and rituals may be more healing for you and the rest of the family than rekindling past activities.

Be careful not to isolate yourself. It is alright to take time for yourself but don’t cut yourself off from family and friends altogether. By sharing your emotions with others who are also grieving your loss, you will bring strength to all. The love and the enjoyment of being with those who love you can nourish and aid you in healing.

Excelsior Springs Hospice will be hosting a “Grief and the Holidays” workshop on November 8th from 3-4 p.m. in the Community Room 1 at the Excelsior Springs Hospital. This presentation will be led by Lisa James, a licensed clinical social worker with many years of experience in helping people through the stages of grief. She will bring valuable insight and suggestions for coping through the holidays and honoring the loved ones you have lost.

You can go to our Excelsior Springs Hospital website at or through the hospital Facebook page (Excelsior Springs Hospital). Follow this link to register. Additionally, you may RSVP by phone at 816-630-9228.

By Standard Staff •

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