WRPA top banner
Western Reserve Psychological Associates, Inc.Empowering change for over 40 years
> return to archived articles >

Archived Article

Grief - Facing the Holidays Without a Loved One

Whenever we face loss, we experience grief. The responses we have as we grieve are very unique and individual. Some have found it helpful to describe grief as a roller coaster, full of ups and downs, highs and lows. Often the holidays are low times because they are filled with many memories. It is very natural that the pain of loss would intensify at this time.

If you are facing the holidays and someone you love will be missing, the following suggestions may be helpful.

  1. Balance time to yourself with being social. Solitude can help renew one's strength. Being with people you care about can be just as important. Attend some holiday parties, You may surprise yourself by having an enjoyable time.

  2. Find a creative way to remember your loved one. For example, volunteer your time to your loved one's favorite organization or charity.

  3. Re-experience the happy time. Select 2-3 special memories of past holidays with your loved one. Recall them often especially if outbursts of grief seem to occur at an inappropriate time.

  4. Locate and use available supports. If your religious faith is important to you, attend holiday church services. Seek out a support group or start your own to help you through the holidays.

Facing the holidays without a loved one can be difficult, however, this can also be a time for some joy. Having a good time over the holidays does not mean that you have forgotten your loved one or that you love him/her any less. Remember that time alone and time with others both help the grieving process.

Catherine C. Cherpas, Ph.D.
Staff Psychologist

> return to archived articles >