Dreading Christmas

I lost my Dad 4 weeks ago today, my only close relative. I knew last Christmas that it would be his last one, I just had that feeling. Today I was shopping in a supermarket that was playing ‘Oh I wish it could be Christmas’ and ‘Jingle Bells’ and I just wanted to exit quickly! Working in a school as a teacher Christmas goes on forever and there seems no escaping it, is anyone else feeling like me… and any words of wisdom to make it more bearable?

Hi Julie, my names Sam, I too feel what you feel, very much so, however it was the love of my life, lost my partner 5 weeks ago, different relationship to yours, but the pain is as real as yours, I too feel the pressures of Christmas approaching, my advice? I’m spending it with family, if you have no other family member, try a close friend(s), I believe it will help you, I spent every Christmas with my partner, many happy memories, many happy moments, I truly miss her, as I’m sure you do your dad, I too feel what you feel, the pain can be overwhelming at times, all I’ll say is remember the good times, the happy moments, what your dad would want you to be like at the festive season, I don’t think your dad would want your sorrow, he loved you very much I’m sure, as my partner loved me, celebrate his life, memories of him will live on in you.
I hope this helps you a little, this is a journey neither of us wanted, but it’s a fact of life, and we both need to take time to absorb, adapt and accept our new way of life. Sam

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Hi Julie and Sam,

How are you both doing? I am thinking of you both today, as it is now December, and getting even closer to Christmas.

You are definitely not alone, as I am starting to see lots of posts on the community from people who are feeling a similar way about Christmas. It is such a difficult time of year for people who are grieving - while others are happy and celebrating, it is common to feel your loss more than ever.

I wanted to bump this conversation up to the top of the homepage, so that more people can join in and support each other.

We also have a blog on our website today that you may find helpful - Chris is the Head of Family Support at our Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice, and she has shared her advice on coping with bereavement at Christmas: https://www.sueryder.org/media-centre/blog/2016/december/coping-with-bereavement-at-christmas

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Funeral tomorrow … Christmas round the corner…
my partner passed away in a foreign country about 6 weeks ago, the repatriation took so long my pain and anguish was prolonged, sarahs funeral is tomorrow ( 02/12) I’m dreading every moment, feeling really low and tearful, Christmas around the corner isn’t making it any easier, the pain I feel gets unbearable at times, I miss sarah so very much, I know she isn’t coming back I know this is final and it hurts beyond any comprehension, I want closure I want to feel “normal” again, I realise the funeral will be the last hurdle in this awful set of circumstances I find myself in, but the pain will remain for a very long time to come, the love I feel for sarah will remain in my heart for all eternity, when she passed, a part of me died with her, she was only 45, I realise death comes to us all, I just wasn’t expecting death to come knocking on my door so soon, I feel cheated by life, I feel angry at life for stealing my love, my happiness, my world, and my sarah.
So I find myself with the prospect of spending Christmas without sarah, the first time in 5 years, family and friends have been great and very supportive, I’ll be spending Christmas with family this year, but I know it won’t be the same without sarah, I look to the future and wonder how I’ll move forward how I’ll come to some normality how I’ll once again begin to enjoy the life I once feel I had, it’s a daily struggle and I try not to think too far ahead, I try and take this day by day, even meet up with people I haven’t seen for some time. Bereavement is something nobody wants, nor welcomes, it’s the most difficult emotion I’ve ever come across, and dealing with it has been challenging to say the least, a sea of emotions on a regular basis is the nearest I can describe it, I wanted to share the effects this has had on me with you all, in the hope people out there will share their experiences too, we are not alone, I know that only too well, it’s also unique in the sense that people who have suffered the same fate, appear to be the only people who understand the pain I and many others feel, it’s not a “club” I ever dreamt I’d be a part of nor chose to be in, but this is reality and I’m trying to find a way I can deal with it best I can, I want to live I want to love, I know sarah is watching me and by my side, I know the love we felt was very real, sarah wouldn’t approve of me suffering anymore than if things were the other way round, keeps me sane knowing that, I live for sarah, I live for me, we are all precious, life is precious, I know that only too well… thankyou for reading x Sam

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Hi Christmas this year is cancelled for me not going to celebrate im all alone .Im going to pretend its just another day .Ive been invited out for Christmas day but theres no way im going (my wife wass called Denise )and the ladys dads girlfriend is called Denise.Im gonna sit at home watch sky box sets

Julie, I like you am dreading Christmas but only thing I can say is as Sam has advised is this is a time for family and friends. I do feel your pain as others do on this site. I’m trying to move on after losing my wife 14 weeks ago after 33 years of happy marriage, there are so many firsts that have happened and will continue to happen like Christmas but I’m sure your Dad as I know my wife would too want us to try and do our best for who we have left, grieving is an absolute horrendous experience that none of us wants and it certainly does hurt.
Try and keep strong and you will get through it trust me, I remember back 10 weeks for me and everyone saying what I’m going to say to you, you’ll get over it and learn to live your life again and I didn’t believe them but trust me please things do get a little better and some days yes are as bad as the first initial days of your loss. Today for me is one of them as it’s another first without June as today is my birthday, but please try and take some help from me that you do start to have some good days but you will never forget your loss you just learn to live with it better.
Take care and always here for a chat

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Have just joined as sitting here also dreading Christmas. I was widowed coming up 3 months ago and whilst I was able to deal with day to day living , since the beginning of December I seem not to be able to cope. Reminders everywhere and family traditions that won’t be the same this year. No decorations up in this house and luckily our teenage son is ok with that as that was a job for him and his daddy. Not sure what to do on the day itself as the usual routine will be so obviously an empty chair. Whilst my late husband loved Christmas and he would want us to enjoy it and remember the good times, I definitely feel like hiding and hoping it passes quickly. As someone previously posted who works in a school I can only imagine as I also work in a school but have not returned to work yet as it would have been unbearable. Christmas is everywhere in school. There are no answers but it provides some comfort seeing others feel the same way. Grief is so painful, the sadness is immense and happy memories just remind me of the future that has been robbed from us. Do whatever feels right and don’t bottle up the emotions.

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Hi, I’ve just joined and been directed to this post by Priscilla (Community Manager). I am literally sobbing my heart out just now reading of others pain. I too feel that pain.

I lost my mum at end of April. She lived with me and my family and in latter years I was her main carer due to many health issues that she had. Long story short, she had Brain Stem Stroke after a fall at home. She deteriorated quickly losing speech, swallowing, mobility and eventually was in a coma like state. I feel guilty because I was asked by her doctors to make a dreadful decision. After, I consulted with my family where we agreed to what doctors had recommended. That was to withdraw all sustenance due no quality and limit of life. The end was to be imminent however she lived for 8 days. My two brothers and I took shifts to ensure she was never alone. Her demise during that time was horrific and felt very cruel. The guilt I felt was immense and I revisit it frequently and have to keep reminding myself that any other alternative would have been far more cruel for the remainder of her life however long that would have been due to the stroke and her other issues.

Anyway, I thought I had started finding my normality these past few months without mum but Christmas was not on the cards for me this year. I just couldn’t think about that. I now feel that would be selfish as my entire family have to get through this as well as me. My kids have lost their Gran and my husband lost a woman he loved as his own mother. I decided I would carry on with the traditions that we have made over the past 18 years as an extended family. I am really struggling now though and feel it gets worse each day. Decorating my mum’s lounge and memories of her still in our home are overwhelming at times. I can’t release in front of family because they too are in pain. Find myself like others in this forum crying when I hear Christmas songs or see, hear or smell anything that invokes a memory. I am so sentimental and have become very nostalgic. I have been taking detours and driving through childhood neighborhoods, yearning for what has passed and dreading what is yet to come.

It would have been my mum’s birthday on Christmas Day. We all loved this time of year and over the years have made it so special to ensure we celebrated it well for her. She missed out on presents and the full birthday tradition as a youngster because of the day she was born and money was tight. She just loved it, everyone came to ours and it was the only time of the year she had all her kids and her grandchildren in one place at one time.

I thought I had actually began to look forward to Christmas when I decided we must go on as usual and out of respect for my mum but I never imagined it would hit me in the ways that is has or be as painful as it feels.

I am most grateful for this forum for being able to share with others who understand. I am also sorry for your loss and hope we that all find some peace over Christmas this year.

I seem to get sadder the closer it is to Christmas, I am not sure what to do with myself this year. It is going to be painful, lost too many family members this year. Just reading you post makes me sad, I am not putting up decorations, but hope to remember happier times and raise a glass, as you must try to do too. x

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Dear Priscilla,
I feel as if December is eternal, I will be so relieved when the whole of the festive period is over. Working in a school makes it worse I think but I have noticed that Christmas seems to be wherever you go, more so this year. Of course I really hope that everyone I know has a lovely Christmas but would love to escape it all myself!
Best wishes,

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I agree I have felt sadder the closer it is getting to Christmas, it seems to be going on forever. I will certainly just try to remember happy times and keep busy doing different things. Take care.

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I agree with you Julie, I am dreading Christmas and the closer it gets the worse it feels. We lost our 19 year old very suddenly in September, I can’t bear the thought of life without him, but we also have an 18 year old son, so have to carry on anyway.

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I am so sorry Tomsmum to hear hear of your son’s death. My close friend lost her son, called Tom aged 26, to cancer quite suddenly nearly 8 years ago. This is exactly how my friend felt but having a younger daughter has really helped her over the years. Take care.

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Hi JulieS, Sam and Dave87
Like you all, I am dreading Christmas as I don’t feel like participating. I have tried to write Xmas Cards to the family in Yorkshire but found it so very difficult. I live in the south so not so easy to visit them.
I lost my only beautiful, funny and loving son David on 4th August this year and I oscillate between wondering if he is coming to see me or I’m trying to believe its true he has passed. He lived an hour from me another hard thing I have to bear is his girlfriend won’t let me have his/any of his ashes so I can say a goodbye to him. I do light a candle at church every Sunday.
I’m having counselling from Cruse, who is coming this evening and have mixed feelings as I sometimes feel worse. Not ready to accept at the moment but as I have read, time is a healer?
I send you all my love

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I lost my mum 11 weeks ago and yes the thought of Xmas as the head of our large family without her us unbearable.we buried her ashes in her mum and dads grave with a little service by the priest so it feels very raw again.I’m going to try to be strong over Xmas as I’ve got family round but I know there will be lots of tears …but next year will be easier for us all …we cannot stop the grief it is a process and we will all be feeling the same .is Thierry anyone you can share the Xmas period with to help you through it xxx

Dear All who have posted on this thread, I really want to send my very sincere condolences for your respective losses. I lost my husband in October 2015 and it still feels very raw. Last year was particularly difficult; however, Christmas has never been the same since I lost my sister in a road accident on 20 December 1968, she would have been 67 today, so a life just beginning. Last Christmas, we spent the day at an hotel (my sons and I) and this year are heading down under to visit the friends and relations. Next year, I have decided that I will try and support Crisis or any of the other local homeless charities - just to keep it different and try and think about something else - by helping out there.

This is just my perspective and would not be everyone’s choice and far too soon for most of the contributors. I think the important thing is to do something you would not usually do. Tears on Christmas day are most certainly not inappropriate - why would you not want to remember the loss of your loved ones?

Although I am not promoting this route, any church would welcome you on Christmas morning - could be something different - just a thought.

With love to you all xx

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My heart is with you as that must be so hard to not have your sons ashes, I can’t imagine how I’d feel if I didn’t have June’s ashes with me as I speak and kiss her urn everyday. But lighting a candle is your way of dealing with it and I’m sure your son will see this light wherever he is in heaven.
I’m very thankful for my daughters who have stepped up and done their Mums duties this Christmas as I’m like you can’t get the motivation to participate.
I must admit on a few occasions after my sessions with Cruse I did feel worse but all in all it does help in the end as for me it help me to talk about June without getting emotional.
You take care Janine77

Hi folks,
this is going to be the first time I have been on my own for Christmas. My Mum, who I was a carer for, passed away on Nov 6th. Her birthday would have been on Christmas day and she would have been 89. Previous Christmases have been a bit difficult. last year and the year before I had to get the out of hours GP out to her on the big day since she was suffering with chest infections… the year before last I got very upset with her (or was it with her illness?) and that upset her…I acted stupidly and it is a mark of shame. I bought her balloons…and I ended up bursting them in a fit of tired exasperation (Childish, eh!?) I am so ashamed and to see her upset on her birthday to upset me even more…we both sobbed for a while…I am in tears now thinking about it.

So Christmas is going to be very difficult one this year since I miss her so much. I have been told that things will get easier and my reactions of guilt are normal, but as the days go by, I am feeling more isolated than per normal. I have no transport of my own…family are rather distant and I don’t have many close friends in this world.
So what I am going to do is lock myself away and have a stock pile of DVDs and CDs on tap…anything non christmassy. It was suggested by some kind spirit on this site (I am sorry for forgetting your name) that I should volunteer for a homeless charity or the Salvation army…I am going to do that, see if they need my assistance… I will see if that can be done. I need to occupy my time…but still feeling very low.
Went for an assessment with the psychiatrist today ( I have had a mild depressive and anxiety based illness, for a little while, being a carer I went through a patch when I was feeling cut off from the world and very insignificant) told me that what I (and we) are going through is often a sad and all too regular occurrence for people going through grief. been given a change in medication which may help me sleep…insomnia is something I have started to go through…making things worse. and referred for talking therapy.

I am trying to be optimistic…but at the present it is very difficult.
Take care all

Dear Janine77

Have you sought legal advice regarding the “ownership” of your son’s ashes? As next of kin, I would have thought that it would have been your prerogative to have them. I am not trying to stir things up, but it might be worth investigating. Lighting a candle in Church is a wonderful and peace-giving thing to do. I hope that your counselling sessions with Cruse help, also. Best wishes Suzie

Dear David

It might have been me who suggested an alternative Christmas …

I feel so sorry for you in your current situation. I have only been in the capacity of a carer for a limited period of time - when both my parents were dying from cancer, but I have no idea how hard it must be for someone who has been undertaking the role long term. Frustrating, exhausting and probably a lot of anger at losing one’s own identity and seeing a parent losing theirs.

Please don’t blame yourself for losing your normal control - I am sure that your mother forgave you without hesitation, because that’s what mother’s do! I am in the position of having two 20 something sons, who are grieving for their father who died last year and some of their comments to me are poisonous. I have to forgive them, because they are the children I bore and they are hurting too.

Your mother will have appreciated all you did for her, I have no doubt!

Please carry on with seeking support for your anxiety and depression and make sure that the NHS, despite its limitations, do support you.

I wish you all the best for coping with the coming holiday.