Grief and the Holidays after COVID-19

By: Matthew Funeral Home
Monday, December 7, 2020

Grief can play a significant role in the winter depression that many people feel during the holidays. Preparing for the holiday season often causes us to take stock of the family, and makes us face the fact that some family members have passed away. This year, more than ever, families all over the world are sharing in this loss. Will the holidays ever be the same without the loved ones who are no longer at the table?

Why We Feel More Grief During the Holiday Season

Unfortunately, this time of the year can be difficult for so many. Shorter, colder days contribute to rising feelings of depression. Holidays can be stressful, with gifts to buy and grand meals to prepare. But for holidays focused around families, it is often easy to notice when a departed family member is missing from the festivities.

Coping With Grief During the Holidays

Grief can be a complex emotion to deal with. On the bright side, coming together with family for the holidays can make this easier. Everyone will cope with and process their grief differently. It is essential to be aware of this, as it can be difficult for families to grieve as a unit. Different family members may have varying expectations for the holidays without those who have passed. If possible, discuss your holiday plans with other family members ahead of time, to help meet and/or temper expectations.

Holiday Memories and Traditions

Many families have holiday traditions, which are carried on by certain family members. After those loved ones pass, it is important to discuss whether or not to carry on those traditions. These traditions may be recipes, family games, or watching a certain movie together. Some family members may feel that it is important to continue the traditions, while others may want to make way for new ones. While there is no right or wrong choice here, it is vital that you choose as a family. When making plans for the holidays, it may be important to mention these traditions, and make sure that you and your loved ones have a plan in place.

Holiday Grief and COVID-19

So many families have been impacted by the coronavirus this year. Your family may have lost one or more family members to this virus. Because of this, it is more important than ever to understand the grief that many people feel around the holidays. Additionally, travel restrictions or gathering capacities may affect your holiday plans. This may prevent you from spending time with your loved ones this year. Discuss with your family any plans that may need to be changed because of this.

Seeking Grief Help During the Holidays

If you are struggling with depression or grief, consider seeking assistance. There are many resources out there that can help you cope with your feelings of loss. Therapy, counseling, and grief-management groups are all options that can help you process your grief. Some non-profits and churches offer grief counseling or host group discussions. There are also many online resources for grief management. Don’t be afraid to look around and seek assistance if you feel like you or your family members need it.

The author of this post is not a professional therapist or counselor. For assistance in finding a grief counselor that is right for you, there are a number of resources out there. For our Grief Resource Center, written by Dr. Bill Webster, click here.  
For over 50 years, Matthew Funeral Home has been serving the Staten Island community. We can help with almost every aspect of your loved one’s memorial service. Our family is here to serve yours, every step of the way.

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