Coping w/Loss during the Holidays


I am really missing my grandmother who passed away in October as well as my FIL who passed away 2 yrs. ago. My DH is also sad because he was close to his dad & loved my grandmother dearly. It hit him just as hard with her passing.

I am not in the mood to decorate my home, mail out cards, or put up the tree…only the manger and our Advent wreath. Yet, all I get from some family members is that I should decorate and put the tree up. Am I wrong to feel sad right now? Don’t get me wrong, I am blessed that I do have a husband, family, nieces/nephews, and friends. Just right now I feel as if the lights in my life are gone but in a better place I am sure.

On top of that, my Crohn’s symptoms are acting up as well as my facial pain from the stroke I had 2 yrs. ago.

I am taking things one day at a time and praying for strength each day to get through these times. When I talk to my nieces & nephews, they put a smile on my face so that helps.

Can anyone offer advice on how to cope. I am grateful that Christ came to save us but as for the commercial end of Christmas, I don’t want to deal with it right now and just concentrate on getting through our grief. Thanks.


I’m very sorry for your loss and will keep both you and your departed loved ones in my prayers tonight.

I think that people are just trying to help you move on and not be so sad. We all need to heal during times like that but people just want to help us get passed it because that is the hard part. I think you should do whatever makes you feel better. If you are too overwhelmed by the emotions to put up decoratinos than don’t put them up. Like you said, you are not wanting to deal with the commercial or secular part of Christmas. God would be much happier if we all just concentrated on the reason for the day in the first place. I think as long as you acknowledge what the day means when it comes and prepare as best you can during the advent season, you are not offending God in anyway, regardless of what others think you should or should not be doing. I am not in your boat with this situation but have lost loved ones before and what truly helps me is to look at it with a different perspective. Try not to focus so much on your loss, which is ultimately why we are sad in the first place, but as your departed loved ones’ gain. They are that much closer to heaven if not already there. It may be sad for you, but it most definitley is not a sad time for them. There is nothing wrong with being sad but please do try to see the good, as we all have to pass at some time or another in order to meet our eternal happiness :).

I will pray for you and your family. I hope this offered some comfort. God Bless.


From someone who has been there, you just have to take it one day at a time. It does not get better over time but the grief becomes easier and not so shockingly painful.
Today would be my mom’s 86th birthday…she passed way suddenly 7 years ago at Thanksgiving. My father died 6 years ago this coming Thursday of a heart attack and my sister in law (who was my best friend) passed away exactly one year later in a terrible car accident…the real tough thing is that next Thursday is also my birthday. I deal with my birthday as a day to get through and try to celebrate St. Lucia;s day in the good old Scandinavian way my mom always did. Late in the evening on Christmas night my friends call to wish me well and remind me I’ve made it through the holidays without anyone dying…kind of a strange thing to celebrate, don’t you think.
Death is a part of life…and knowing that we will see (hopefully) our loved ones again brings comfort. Yes. I have a momentary pity party now and again but then I hear my fathers voice in my head telling me to “buck up” and get on with life. Take a moment, remember a funny story, smile and remember. I can bet your family would not want you to be sad.



thank you everyone for your support. I saw all of my nieces/nephews this summer. DH’s side from FL (niece/nephew) and Syracuse (niece/nephew) in July and sister w/family in June for all 4 of their birthdays.

They are all very busy with sports, dancing, and studies during the school year (Ella & Timmy still have a few yrs. before they have to go) but I am always up-to-date on how they are doing via emails and phone calls.

I live up north w/Lake Ontario right across the street from me. If the weather isn’t bad, my folks and sister will come up but if it’s bad, everyone will stay home. DH has to work both Xmas Eve and Day so I am thinking about maybe seeing everyone on one of his days off so he can see the kids.

I just found out from my sister that our cousin Kim (she is the daughter of our deceased Uncle who passed away 2 yrs. ago–son of my grandma) made a comment to her re: that she should be getting something from my grandma’s inheritance. My sister and I are so angry :mad: right now because grandma didn’t have much $$$and what she had…mainly some furniture and old photos went to my mom and her sister. We were blessed by the things she made us while growing up…crocheted Barbie clothes, booties, blankets, afghans, etc. I have some of my best memories staying at her home in the big feather bed w/my sister, playing cards, and gram’s home made Polish food. Gram was really hurt by how her son & his family treated her yet, she always showed them lots of love & compassion.

Our 2 cousins never had anything to do at all w/ grandma and when she became ill, no calls, no letters, nothing. For some reason, they along with my aunt & uncle didn’t like my grandma at all. Yet, whenever they heard that she was having a holiday dinner for the entire family they’d show up, eat, and then leave. Very rude to say the least. Whenever a big event happens for one of the girls (graduation, wedding, birthday) then we get an invitation. In between times, they don’t talk to us at all. I’ve tried calling Kim a few times after her dad died & a few months ago, but she never returned my calls.

She is having a baby in March & dropping hints what she wants for the nursery. She tried to get my sister to give her some of the stuff she has for free but Michele told her that she wasn’t giving her kids things away at all. I know that she’s going to have more than 1 (yes that’s right) and we’ll probably get an invitation. I really do not want to go for the above reasons plus the fact that I am not allowed to drive in the winter at all due to my stroke (doctor’s strict orders) and money is very tight for me & DH.

I can’t take all this stuff right now. I am stressed enough as it is. I just want to get through this holidays, get my fistula to heal, & be there for my mom, sister, and DH.

Would it be wrong for me to respectfully decline and not give a gift based upon my circumstances? I know that I should treat her like I want to be treated but I am tired of being contacted when either cousin wants something. Whenever I was hospitalized, my grandma was always there for me as well as my family, DH, & his family. Nothing from Kim or Jen. After my stroke, I realized who my true friends were and which family members were really there for me.

How do any of you handle family members like this when you are dealing w/the loss of a loved one plus health problems and they don’t care about what you’re going through.

Thank you again for your prayers and support.


Chronie, I am so sorry things are difficult for you. :o I figure I have 17 days till Christmas. Outside I put up ONE string of lights a day, or one thing at the front of the house. By Christmas, it’s all up. And it saves me spending hours outside on one day doing it all.

Same with inside. Even if it’s just a few pillows or wreaths and a few candles… Could someone else help you put up a tree? At least with some lights and a few ornaments?

As for the relatives, be obtuse. Buy a lovely card and send it, with an apology that your circumstances don’t allow for more. Then no one can say you weren’t gracious. You are not required to send more than your best wishes.

Be polite. But no, that kind of person always makes sure they have what they need. You are not required to help, or endanger yourself or violate doctors’ orders.

Take care of YOU! And Merry Christmas. You know, when God started Christmas, He didn’t intend for it to be a death march.

And there are 12 days of Christmas. I don’t usually start sending my cards out till after Christmas. Who has time to read anything before then anyway?


Honey, you’re allowed to feel any way you want!!

This will be our 3rd Christmas w/o my dad and I still feel sad, with no desire to bake or send cards. I do have the nativity up and will get a tree this week.

Do as much as you can and don’t sweat what you’re not up to.


I’m sorry for your loss–you and your husband. I lost my parents as a child…It seems like my entire life was surrounded by their loss, and in everything, I would just see loss…for a while. Until a few years ago, was I able to really look at their loss, in a different light. Through God’s grace, He will enable us to get through the most dreaded of times.

Now, to not wanting to really decorate, etc…I don’t think you need to. Don’t feel pressured to anything that you really don’t feel like doing. I also don’t think it is a good idea to pull the covers over your heads, and sob the entire season away–I know that can be tempting.:o (not saying you would, I’m just trying to lighten your mood) But, somewhere between sobbing away the days, and looking forward to our Savior’s birth…it’s ok to be in between, sometimes. I think that if you both lean on one another…if you both pray together…and again, look forward to our Savior’s birth…there is hope. Hope in the season. Christmas is a time for new beginnings…new traditions. Maybe light a novena candle each night…and say a prayer for your FIL. Know that God is there present in your pain…and your loss. I will say a prayer for you both.


Thank you everyone for your prayers and support.

I have decided to put the smaller tree up (I can’t lift the 6’ one anymore) and decorate it w/the crocheted angels my grandma made. The past few weeks were really hard. I was very sad, the house work wasn’t up to par, and I just didn’t want to listen anything cheerful on the radio or ipod.

Then it dawned on me…what my grandma and FIL have shown the family during their time on earth(love, patience, kindness, prayefullness, helping others etc.) will still continue on through their kids and grandkids. So I have chosen to take it one day and just continue praying.

As for my cousin, I recvd the baby shower invite. With much thought/prayer, I don’t feel guilty for deciding not attending her baby shower. I need to take care of myself spiritually as well as physically. She is the type of person who only thinks of herself and can be rude at times. I won’t tolerate that kind of behavior toward myself or my family.

Thanks again to everyone’s words of support and wisdom.

Have a blessed Christmas.


I hope you have one of those moments during the holiday that makes you feel the presence of your grandma. It was a good idea to put up the little tree and her ornaments she made with love for you. You know, as she crocheted them, each one hook movement at a time, she probably thought of you and how you would be putting them on your tree long after she was gone. I just finished hanging ornaments on my tree that my girls will have when they are grown and I hope they will continue to hang them up long after I’m gone and remember our Christmases.


I will keep you in my prayers this Christmas. I know the holidays are so hard when we are missing our loved ones. Please do not feel guilty about not sending a shower present. You sent a card, and that is plenty. We should not need to feel guilty, nor adequate, for not spending money we do not have, and we shouldn`t need to explain our finances to others.

I often feel pressured to give gifts I cannot afford but have made a big effort to “scale back.” I try to let people know in advance of the holidays so that their feelings wont be hurt, But the people who truly care for us, would not us wanting to spend money we dont have, on them.

I will keep you in my prayers.




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