Grief and the Holiday season

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Here’s the short version of this story.

You’re allowed to have a grief journey for as long and however you want. That’s it. It really is. So if that resonates with you – thank you for reading and have a safe Festive Season.

If you’re still here – grief is trickier than the simplicity of the above statement. Know what – that is also ok. There is no right or wrong really – there isn’t a hard and fast ‘do this and you will be ok!’ That is Hollywood movie stuff.

Holiday grief hits different to any other time of the year because we don’t see Christmas trees being stood around jovially, by crowds in cemeteries or people crying into the presents. That wouldn’t sell many trees would it!

Here are three things to remember so that the grief doesn’t take hold.

1.  Feel the grief but don’t be the grief. 

Of course it has a place. Whoever you a mourning was in your world for a reason. You are sad for a reason. You pine them for a reason. I guarantee though, they’d want you to smile. They’d want you to remember them in happy times not in the sadness. Feel the sadness but don’t let it dictate to you how you should act. Don’t let it wash over you so much that your memories are foggy. Easier said than done.

How did I turn the grief into a smile? I chose to use talking about the person / people. They existed and therefore – let’s talk about them. ‘Remember when…nanna put the BBQ tray of chops in the oven, with the tray still on them!’ It’s true. It happened. She smoked out the whole house! The story makes people smile, it makes people giggle – it allows you to remember in happiness rather than sadness.

2.  Have your moment and then make the day yours 

There was a time, back in 2018 when I was cast into widow-hood with two small children, that I would sit and days would get away from me. A blink and gone. Then I decided that sadness had a time limit. If not for myself also for my little shadows. So I allowed it time. I gave it tears and then I paused it. I relegated it to the back of my brain and disallowed it to creep in. I made happy memories – for the little ones – I began to live again because I realised that’s what I needed. It didn’t make the loss any less sad or tragic, but life is for living and so I did.

You can do that too. However long you need that day and it could be an hour or two or it could be mere minutes – feel that sadness, embrace it, talk it through in the mirror with yourself. Then live. Live because you’re here and you deserve to be happy and those around you who silently and vehemently have your back want nothing more than to see you shine.

3.  Everyone has a broken heart - get to your smile. 

When, in your sadness, you only see yourself – that’s ok. It is 💯 fine.
Realise however, everyone has a story. Everyone has sadness at some point and don’t be mad at their movement through that sadness. If they got to a smile faster than you, that’s ok. But – get there! Get to the smile. Even at first if it’s for a second, get to that smile. Remember – if the sadness fell on a whole family – your smile could help someone else through the grieving process. You may secretly be someone’s strength. Get to the smile. Whatever you need to remember about the person / people you lost, to get to that smile, do it. A happy memory, a smell, a word, a picture – whatever your stimulus – get to your smile. Once you’re there – be proud of yourself, the journey was long for the sadness was a horrible weight.

The holidays are hard. It’s a time for family and if some of yours are missing it hurts your heart. Feel the grief, have your moment and acknowledge the sadness but get to your smile. It’s healing. It’s healthy. Get to you smile.

Cath x


Cath is a mum, a writer, loves makeup and tulle and if she could be anywhere all the time it would be the beach. Her life is busy and she loves it. Her heart is full.