Christmas can be a tough time when we’ve lost loved ones and it’s even harder when it’s that dreaded “first” year when you are all too aware that Christmas will never be quite the same again. I remember I found Christmas shopping intensely painful in 2012 as I spotted lots of things in the shops that Mum or Dad would’ve loved and was unable to buy them. I also missed my annual Christmas shopping trip with Mum; we used to make a day of it by spending a day shopping and having a delicious lunch. In 2012 not only was I minus my Shopping Buddy but also minus two very special people to buy for. I felt the spear of grief pierce my already bruised heart once more

I was lucky though as I had wonderful friends who came to my rescue and whisked me away to some sunshine for that first Christmas and supported me through it and I’m extremely grateful to have happy memories of that time mixed in with the sadder ones.

So how do we cope with grief at Christmas?

Grieving is such an intensely personal journey, unique to each individual but there are ways you can ease yourself through the next week or so.

Most importantly, be kind to yourself. Know that it’s OK to cry because you miss them not being there. Perhaps you can talk about those you are missing and raise a glass to happy past memories. Be grateful that you were able to have those special times with them.

Other things we can do is try to include those we’ve lost in the celebrations. This might sound odd but maybe you could do something that they loved to do like go for a walk somewhere special or play their favourite song. Perhaps make a Christmas tree decoration with their photograph on it, or light a candle for them.

My way of doing it is with our Christmas decorations. I have kept a lot of our family tree decorations and now I smile when I open the box every year and feel the memories of past Christmases jump out at me; it’s very comforting and helps keep Mum & Dad close and included.

Whatever you choose to do this Christmas I hope it is full of love and laughter, and if you have lost a loved one this year remember it’s OK to cry when you need to and remember the happy times you spent with them,

Lots of love,

Wendy xx

My book “From Cancer To Coddiwomple – A Story of Love, Loss and Daring to Dream” is available directly from thecoddiwomplelady.com priced £12.99. Proceeds help support St Barnabas House hospice in Sussex.

The Coddiwomple Lady