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Navigating the Holidays After Loss: Finding Comfort and Hope Amidst Grief

The holidays are often a time of joy, celebration, and togetherness. However, for those who have experienced the loss of a loved one, this time of year can be particularly challenging. The absence of a familiar face, and the lingering echoes of laughter and shared memories can make the holidays feel empty and overwhelming.

Grief is a natural and necessary response to loss, and it can manifest in a variety of ways. During the holidays, feelings of sadness, loneliness, and even anger may intensify as you grapple with the absence of your loved one. It’s important to acknowledge these emotions and allow yourself to feel them without judgment.


While the holidays may bring up difficult emotions, it’s also important to remember that they can be a time for healing and reflection. Here are some tips for navigating the holidays after a loss:

  • Be kind to yourself: Grief is a process, and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Don’t put pressure on yourself to feel “normal” or to participate in activities you don’t feel up to.
  • Set boundaries: It’s perfectly okay to decline invitations or excuse yourself from social gatherings if you need some time alone. Listen to your body and your emotions, and don’t feel obligated to do anything that makes you uncomfortable.
  • Create new traditions: If traditional holiday activities bring back painful memories, consider creating new traditions that honour your loved one in a meaningful way. You could visit their favourite place, plant a tree in their memory, or start a new charity in their name.
  • Seek support: Talk to friends, family members, or a grief counsellor about what you’re going through. There are also many online and in-person support groups available for those who have experienced loss.
  • Be patient with yourself: Healing takes time, and there will be ups and downs along the way. Don’t get discouraged if you have a difficult day or if you find yourself feeling sad or lonely.
  • Remember, you are not alone in your grief: There are many people who have experienced the loss of a loved one and who can offer support and understanding. Reach out to your support network, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you need it.

The holidays may be challenging after a loss, but they can also be a time for reflection, healing, and the renewal of hope. By taking care of yourself, honouring your loved one’s memory, and seeking support, you can find ways to navigate this difficult time and find meaning in the season.

Here are some additional resources that may be helpful:

  • Lifeline: 13 11 14 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
  • MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
  • Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
  • Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
  • GriefLine: 1300 845 745 (8 am to 8 pm 7 days (AEDT)

You can also find support online at:

Please remember that you are not alone. There are many people who care about you and want to help.

If you’d like to hear more, check out our podcast, Death Defined ( where we discuss the complicated emotional spectrum of death with real people, from their experiences. Hosted by funeral director Matt Kwoka, we delve into the complicated emotions, processes, and taboos surrounding one of the experiences that unites all humanity.

If you’d like to discuss the requirements for a funeral and how Southern Cross can help celebrate your loved ones’ life, you can contact us at Southern Cross Funerals.