How To Navigate The Holidays While Experiencing Grief & Loss

“Words like happy, merry, and joy go a long way in succinctly explaining why grief is such a hard load to bear during the holidays,” says Childs. “The pressure to create, partake in, and loudly bang the drum of ‘the perfect holiday season’ is something that many of us feel every year, but when you’re reeling from a loss and having a hard time just putting one foot in front of the other, facing the holidays can feel like more than you can bear.”

That feeling of overwhelming loss is something many of us are experiencing, regardless of whether we’ve lost a loved one recently. The holidays are a time of tradition, of family, and being together, and that’s simply not something everyone can do safely at this point in the pandemic.

We’re dealing with another tough reality, too. “Pre-COVID, most people had the ability to personify death as a faraway event. There was no need to view it through an up-close and personal lens,” Childs notes. “The pandemic has changed that. Not only has COVID taken hundreds of thousands of lives, the way it has taken these lives has been unpredictable and haphazard in nature.”

As infection rates and deaths accelerate, we’re all feeling the effects. And for those who are dealing with a death, the pandemic has robbed us of so much more than our loved ones.

The sense of closure that comes from saying our goodbyes can play a big role in the grieving process. “Final moments,or lack thereof, inform the grieving process in so many different ways,” Childs adds. Being with our loved ones at their time of death can bring enormous comfort, she says, and being denied that opportunity often creates a more complicated grieving process. Those complications are only emphasized during the holidays.

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