Hope for the Holidays

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, November 8, 2022

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Holidays are known to be a time of celebration, gathering of family and friends, great food, and joy. However, the holidays are difficult for some because there has been a significant loss. There’s an empty chair during the holiday celebration. When a loved one dies, holidays can remind us of all that one has lost rather than a time of joy and blessing. During this time, memories may be bittersweet. Memories of shared time may be both a gift of remembering the joyous times and a source of sadness because our loved one is no longer there to share or make new memories.  


Grief is a natural response to loss. It’s the emotional suffering we feel at the passing of a loved one. As a result, we may experience difficult emotions, physical symptoms, and behaviors. 

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Some of those feelings may include:


  • Sadness, shock, guilt, anger, loneliness, fatigue, yearning.
  • Physical symptoms of tightness in the chest, weakness, fatigue, and oversensitivity to noise.
  • Sleep disturbances, absent-minded behavior, dreams, social withdrawal, crying, and avoiding reminders.

Grieving is not linear; instead, it’s more like lightning bolts of emotions striking at any time. 

There are no rules for getting through grief during the holidays. We may repeat the past traditions, maybe one piece of a tradition or all new traditions. It won’t be easy no matter your decision, so try and lean into the feeling as you move through it. 


Here are some tips for getting through:


  • Be kind to yourself
  • You may decide to do one thing and find it doesn’t work; it’s ok to stop and take another direction.  
  • Have a plan to help you through it
  • Do something symbolic by creating a moment that will honor a loved one
  • Tears and sadness are ok
  • Talk about your loved one
  • Let the memories come
  • Don’t over-commit yourself.

Grief is the price we pay for love. Because we have loved, we mourn.

If you need someone to talk to, call Senior Life Solutions at 828-894-9890. Senior Life Solutions meets the unique needs of individuals, typically 65 and older, experiencing depression and anxiety associated with life changes.  

If you have a healthcare topic of interest or would like to learn more about St. Luke’s Hospital, send me a note at Michelle.Fortune@slhnc.org. Also, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or visit our website at StLukesNC.org.