Coping with loss on Christmas Day

Hi there. It’s 31st August and I’m finding myself getting more and more anxious about how on earth I will cope with Christmas this year! I know it sounds insane, but hear me out! I lost my amazing mum on Christmas Day last year after a long 12 year cancer battle. My mum loved Christmas and it was her favourite time of year. We spent a lot of time together over the years buying decorations and presents together in the run up to the festivities and last year we did what we could given how poorly mum was. I also work in a primary school where Christmas preparations pretty much begin next week and gradually increase as we get nearer. I’m absolutely dreading seeing or being near anything Christmassy. My mum died surrounded by Christmas and it is so intense when I think about it. How on earth will I get through this? My children are 12 and 15 and love Christmas so I want to try and be as normal as I possibly can for them but I just can’t see how I’ll cope.

Anyone out there with any ideas on strategies I could try to cope, not only with the run up, but also the actual day??

Thanks for listening

J x

Hi Joanie

I am looking for the same advice. Last year we didn’t celebrate it, as my hubby had died a few weeks before. So there was no tree etc. I was receiving presents hubby had ordered for me being delivered in the run up, with special notes, some I still haven’t opened, it’s too raw. I wish I could give you some advice.

I will put up a tree for our grandkids, but it won’t be the same, I think we just have to try. There will be a place at the dinner table and we will visit the grave. We sent some balloons on his birthday and funeral, we will probably do the same.

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So sorry for your losses. It really doesn’t get any easier does it? We talked this evening about Christmas… picked up a menu for Christmas Day at our local. My Grandad died Christmas Day 2019, obviously 2020 wasn’t normal and my Dad died following a short battle with cancer in May this year. So Christmas really won’t be the same and I don’t want to pretend and do all the normal things. Because nothing is normal anymore. I’ve got children to consider too, 10 and 12… they’re not little but Christmas is becoming less joyful for them because of all that’s happened over the last couple of years. If we could easily hop on a plane and be somewhere else I’d do it! I’ve looked into hotels in this country but they’re all so ridiculously expensive!
Sorry no helpful suggestions but you’re definitely not alone!

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Ps I also work in a primary school… it will be Christmas in no time…

Thank you for your kindness, it really does help to know we’re not alone.

I have been wondering about this one too. My husband is dying and I know by Christmas I’ll be alone. I don’t have children and I think I’ll just want to stay away from other people’s Christmases. Like you, Joanie, Christmas has always been a big celebration for us - I don’t think I could bear to do it without him.

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Thank you for your kindness too. Knowing people are around is a great comfort in itself x

Last Christmas was four months after my husband died. The first Christmas for our little grandson (he spent his first in ICU and did not get home until February 2020) which me and husband had talked and planned as a big grand occasion only for him not to be with us. I stuck up a tree - it looked pitiful. I now have another grandson and am dreading this Christmas again. So I have started to buy their presents now to avoid the shops in the run up to the event itself. Like last year I will ask for no Christmas cards .

I have seen memory baubles for the Christmas tree and candles.

Sorry just wish had some better advice to give.

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Oh bless you, i truly appreciate your reply, in return I can only wish you the best possible Christmas you can have. Sending love and comfort to you, your family and all the other lovely people who have replied to my post.

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AJM this time last year I was you, not knowing, anticipating, fearing, dreading but at the same time making the memories, loving, having the happiest times we could, such a conflicting time. In many ways, the other side is no different. It’s all about the anticipation and worrying about how we might feel. In truth I don’t think we can do anything except go with the flow and react to our emotions as and when they arise at the time. I have felt better since I posted this to learn that many of us feel the same, it’s not so isolating , just wish life didn’t mean we had to ultimately accept the loss of loved ones. Sending love and comfort your way x

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Losing someone so close at Christmas is just hard. Plain hard. With most deaths at anytime of the year the 1st and 2nd Christmas are hard and there’s often a twinge that a person is missing even after that. Being in school with all the Christmas activities is a double whammy. I guess you will drift through, and find some coping mechanisms.
It might help to think of that part of you life - school - as ‘my job’ and store it in a little compartment in your mind ‘job’. ‘It’s for work, it’s for the children’. Value the joy they feel for them, you don’t have to feel it. If it triggers tears, so be it, it’s no bad thing for children to know adults cry when they’re sad. And Christmas itself- be so so gentle with yourself, do a damage limitation on it and do only what you can cope with, absolute minimum or nothing if necessary only try not to be alone. Death is a trauma and it’s hard. It’s awful without that person especially when it was during Covid. Love yourself and take love now hugs from those who love you. I’m sending hugs thru the air for me all of you xxxx

I’ve only just seen this, thank you so much for taking the time to reply to me. Your kindness means so much and you have given me some good ideas about separating work from rest of life. Thank you x x