Dreading the festive period

I lost my partner suddenly in July. He passed away suddenly abroad. I get through each day by trying not to believe its happened and immersing myself in my work and I feel so exhausted most of the time, I can get through the days but weekends and any time off I’m finding is so hard. Both my grown up children dont live near and they contact seldomly, they are busy with their own lives which I understand. I’m having difficulty wanting to meet up with friends, I just dont want anyone asking me anything. I’m dreading Christmas and New Year. I just dont know how to cope with it. I dont want to celebrate. I wouldnt normally see my children on Christmas day or New Year and dont feel I want to this year. I don’t feel I can pretend to be happy. I really want to be where he died at New Year as we always went away together at New Year but the hotel where he passed away is fully booked. As it gets nearer I just dread it more. How does anyone cope with getting through it. I just miss him so much and cant imagine ever feeling any different, I feel more emotional as the weeks go on.


Oh @Chelle1966 that must be so difficult to deal with.
It’s human nature - that need to know what caused your nearest and dearest to die.

How can you “come to terms” with anything if you don’t have the information to help you try to make some sense out of it?

I’m 4 months ahead of you on this sad journey and I still feel that it can’t be true.
My lovely husband also died suddenly and unexpectedly but at least he was at home - albeit alone.

I can relate totally to that need to be alone - to not want to be anywhere where I may be expected to be sociable.

My thoughts are that some of us are pack animals and when wounded, we need to be surrounded by the pack to help us heal.
Others of us (maybe you and me Chelle?), need to stay in our lair, alone, licking our wounds, until such time as we feel strong enough to face the rest of the pack.

Keeping busy, so we can try and focus on anything that isn’t grief or bereavement is also a coping strategy I used.
I did find that it helped in the early days and I’m all for whatever helps you cope providing it harms no-one - most of all yourself.

I’m also at a loss to know what to do for Christmas and New Year (we also went away together every New Year but didn’t really make a fuss at Christmas).

I’m inclined to stay at home as I too don’t want to subject myself to enforced joviality and I would be very conscious that for others, the festive period is a jolly time if I were to accept any invitations to spend it elsewhere.
I don’t want that responsibility of ensuring I don’t drag down the mood of other folk but if I need to weep and sob, I have to be somewhere where I feel comfortable doing just that.

I have no answers Chelle as, like you, this is my first Christmas and New Year without my soul mate.
My plan is to treat it as just another day and be kind to myself - what else can we do as sadly, bereavement is out of our control.

Take care.


Dear @Chelle1966 @Wingingit I understand how you are feeling it’s such a difficult time. I lost my husband 4 months ago and have found ways to get through most days but Christmas and new year are my biggest dread. Xmas ads are out on tv and everyone is having a jolly time. I will be spending it alone, I wish I had someone to spend it with but I don’t… my mind is in turmoil every time I think about it because loneliness is horrendous.
Im hoping there’s others who are alone at Xmas on this forum so at least we have someone to virtually chat too.
Sending love to you both
Jen x


I’m unsure how to face Christmas and New Year as all of my worst memories are of that time last year. My husband had a stroke 2 days after Christmas. He was then in hospital on life support until he died on New Year’s Day. In some ways they are just more difficult days without our partners but they seem so much harder to face.
My family are great but no one is mentioning Christmas plans - I suppose they don’t know how to. I’ve no idea what is the best thing to do but I wish it would all just disappear.


@Jen64 I’m sure there will be many folk Jen, who will be spending it alone either through choice (if you know what I mean - not 1 of us is in this position through choice), or as a result of circumstances.
The jolly time portrayed in the Christmas ads is not real.
Like all ads, it is simply marketing - buy this turkey and trimmings from this supermarket and you too can have a jolly old time in a house full of cheery folk - rubbish!
I’m not really as full of bah humbug as I sound and I’m sure I’ll check in here at some point on Christmas day to offer a virtual hug to my fellow grievers.


I’m the same as you with my first Christmas and new year without my darling Richard.
Christmas we do have family coming as my daughters both felt it would be better to have others around us. I am dreading it as I can’t see myself wanting to be hostess, although they are such lovely family members and understand we will not be ourselves. They still want to come and I think it’s their way of feeling they are able to help us.

No idea about new year. I certainly don’t want to ‘celebrate’ it and I know I’ll be a wreck whatever I do. We used to spend it with friends but can’t imagine how I can face that plus I’d hate to spoil their new year celebrations.

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That’s very hard @Flossy3.
A real double whammy.
The Festive period is hard enough to deal with on it’s own but when your bereavement occurred around that time, that’s an additional blow to deal with.
I do know what you mean about just wanting it to dissappear.
It’s good that you have a great family though - and I am only too well aware that it is just NOT the same as having your life partner and soul mate with you.
We’ll all get through it somehow, just as we’re getting through today and yesterday.

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Thank you @Wingingit. You’re right we will get through, as we have no choice. I also know my husband would hate me to just hide away.

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I feel the same as everyone. I lost my husband 12 December last year, like some of you it was a sudden death at home. I made myself face Christmas as I have 2 young granddaughters who wouldn’t understand why they could come and see nanny and grandad. To be fair my son told his daughters that grandad wouldn’t be here as he had gone to heaven, bless them they never mentioned him. I spent Christmas Day on my own, the children stayed away at my request but did all come on Boxing Day. The only reason the tree went up was for the grandchildren as I certainly didn’t want to celebrate Christmas. It will be the same now every Christmas, it’s something that I won’t enjoy any more. I’m feeling low now as it’s coming close to the first anniversary, and again I’ve asked the children not to come round on that day as I know I won’t be in a good place. This year has gone by so quickly, sometimes it feels as if it was yesterday then other times it feels like it was years ago. Is this normal? Moving forward next year I’m hoping to go for a family meal either on his birthday or the 2nd anniversary not to mourn him but to celebrate his life. A positive thought for the future
Take carexxx


Such a difficult time with impossible decisions for you.
I feel the same about time passing so assume that it’s normal. I can’t believe six months has passed since I lost my husband and in others ways it feels SO long.
It will be his birthday on Thursday and eight months exactly on Christmas Day so some more difficult firsts coming up.

Sending love to all of you at this very testing time.

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Sending you love and strength.
The extra significance of Christmas time and new year must make this even harder to bear.
I am still not sure what I want and I have less to deal with than you at this time.
My daughters felt they would prefer to have family around so that is what we have decided, although I’m still unsure it is the right decision for me.


Thank you for all your replies. It’s good to hear that what I’m feeling is normal and how everyone is trying to cope with it as best they can.
I’m sorry I have no idea how you copy users in to individually comment but thankyou to everyone.
It’s truly sad to lose someone at Christmas and makes it all the more difficult and it is difficult enough as it is.
I just want to know why it happened and also be and see where it happened so I can feel closer to him as strange as that may sound.
I wish everyone peace of mind and that you may find some comfort and happiness in the weeks ahead xxx


Hello chelle1966 - I lost my lovely husband in March & my life has changed completely because he was my rock but I can’t imagine what you went through with the shock of your husband’s passing & not knowing the details. I know what you mean about Xmas & although I’ve had 4 invites I’ve said no to them all & I intend to stay on my own at home & eat rubbish food & watch rubbish tv & cry all day if I want to. I just can’t cope with trying to be happy & smiling just so I don’t spoil other peoples day. I have no children or siblings but have some brilliant friends but they all live over 100 miles away & I have 3 stepdaughters but many days I don’t see anyone & it’s so lonely isn’t it. By the way my husband was a lifelong Welsh rugby supporter & often went to internationals…I live in South Wales.
Take care - love Jackie


My partner passed away 19 months ago so I have been through my first Christmas without him yes it is horrible I won’t lie to you. I thought of it as a party I wasnt going to I opted out of presents nd cards except for my grown up kids and we gave each other a little gift christmas eve and a little something christmas day. We ordered an Indian takeaway and watched a movie just me my son and daughter then it was over! We done it xx it was worse the build up to it that was hard but I avoided it as much as I could. You do what it takes you to do to get through it don’t feel you have to get involved its just a day :heart::heart::heart::heart: take care xx sending hugs


Thanks for your reply- this site helps me realise how many of us are suffering the same horrible emotions & feelings of emptiness. I think the loneliness is worst. Just going days without speaking or seeing anyone & being too disabled to do anything about it. If I was able bodied I think I would have tried to do some voluntary work by now. But so many people are worse off than me & I have brilliant friends even if they live miles away from me so I try & count my blessings & remember the lovely life I had for nearly 40 years with my Norm
Hope you’ll manage to have better Xmas this year.
God bless - love Jackie


I too lost my partner in May this year - he was only 63. He was being treated for a blood cancer and doing well, then contracted Covid and battled for 5 months with it, but unfortunately became so weak and could not beat the virus. I am devastated. He was the love of my life and looked after me, the house and our family so well. I live in the North West, but my son lives in Bristol and I also have two step daughters - who have been a tower of strength for me. I have thrown myself into many things, such as volunteering for an animal sanctuary, joined a bird watching group and a walking group, as well as restarted art classes again. I find keeping busy helps me cope. Like you, I was dreading Christmas and New Year so decided to go on holiday with my son somewhere hot over Christmas - so it will be completely different to the usual cold British Christmas. I will make the most of my son’s company, the change of environment and try and enjoy our holiday with minimum normal “Christmas” stuff and expectations.

It is very difficult to keep motivated, but I know my husband would be proud of what I have done since his tragic death and that keeps me going. I have my down days for sure, but feel I owe it to myself to honour my husband and live my life for the both of us the best I can - though often easier said than done.


I lost my dad very suddenly last year, my parents live 172 miles away from me in Wales and my mum is alone over there with no family. My parents have been together since they were 16 years old and were in their 70’s when my dad passed, so this has devastated my mum whose life has been turned upside down. I have invited her to our house for the Christmas period as can’t leave her alone during this awful time with so many memories, my dad was in hospital last Christmas.
My mum has a couple of friends who have been by her side through it all, but she had to bravely put herself out there to make a new type of life for herself. She joined yoga, art therapy, The WI as well as a few other things.
So you are not alone at Christmas could you possibly do some volunteer work like helping the homeless at the wonderful food centres, the atmosphere will be lovely at Christmas. I know a lot of people join a group who volunteer at the hospital with all sorts of roles, just sitting with patients and keeping them company, taking library books around the wards. There are many places that would love your help at Christmas.
So sorry for the loss of your husband :hugs:

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Hi Alison - so sorry about your dad & I can understand how your mum must be feeling… Years ago I always thought that if ever I was left on my own I would do voluntary work & join various clubs etc to meet new people & help others but now it’s actually happened I’m disabled myself & my mobility is so poor that I find it difficult to walk round the house. Going out has to be planned like a military exercise- where to park, any steps, how far to walk etc so the easiest option is staying in. Hopefully I’ll be able to find something I can do online or via zoom…

I have rheumatoid arthritis and registered disabled so totally understand how hard it is to commit to activities and volunteering. I’ve had to give up work and volunteering at a rescue centre due to pain and limitations.
Definitely look into online things, since Covid and lockdown so much more goes on online especially Zoom/ FaceTime groups.

I am so sorry for your loss it must be very hard not having answers to why your husband passed away .Everyone deals with grief differently when my husband died 5 years ago my husband died on November 1st I didn’t want to do Christmas but remembered he loved Christmas so made the effort and my family came round for dinner I was glad they did has it helped me get through the day and they needed to do it so they could remember their dad and grandad has they was grieving has well I. I declined their offer to stop over has wanted to be on my own later not everyone will want to do this but I found it did help but every first thing and celebration will be the hardest to get through .