What did/do you need during your first Christmas?

Hello everyone,

I have seen lots of comments about Christmas - we know how difficult it can be for many people, whether it’s the first Christmas without a loved one or the fifth. Big occasions can bring up so many different emotions - as many of you have shared, it’s often helpful to tell others what you need during and around these times.

A team of Sue Ryder colleagues are pulling together some information and social media posts around this sort of thing and being Grief Kind at Christmas time - if any of you feel comfortable completing the following sentence, we’d love to use and share some of your words (anonymously) within these pieces:

"I need …"

For instance, you might feel that you need:
Time to reflect
Alone time
Someone to listen/talk to

If you feel comfortable sharing what it is you need and are happy for us to share your words (we won’t use any names, etc), please either reply to this post or contact me by emailing online.community@sueryder.org.

Thank you for taking the time to read this - please take care of yourselves and know you are not alone.

Online Community Team


I went away and spent time crying and drinking. Sorry but it was all-in-clusive hotel in Morocco so Christmas was ‘low key’. Would I recommend it? NO but what else, sorry but I haven’t an answer.

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I need patience and understanding include me in your celebration but my smile want be as bright sit with me hold my hand


I need understanding. I don’t want be the fly in the face cream when everyone is having such a jolly time. All false of course if your Christmas is only about getting and being pixxxd.

So my ideal would be see Bridget and hopefully a sympathetic family.


Someone to hold my hand or give me a hug and just say I’m here for you


I need someone to recognise I might be finding it difficult.no pressures or expectations.


I need the thing I can’t have - my Dad back.


I need to be with pauline but i can’t so i suppose i just need someone to say its ok to feel the way i feel and that there are people who care


I need people to hopefully understand that Christmas will bittersweet for me. The first Christmas without you Dad. Remembering will make me happy but also sad that you’re no longer with us. #specialxmasmemories


I need a little bit of company this year, it’s the 1st on my own, so maybe just come & spend a little time with me help me decorate my tree or eat a few mince pies. I just need to not feel so lonely.


Thank you so much for all of your responses. They are so very heartfelt and thoughtful - we really appreciate you sharing your thoughts and feelings with us.

Please take care of yourselves and keep reaching out and telling people what it is you need particularly around anniversaries and times like Christmas.

Thank you again,

I need open ended invitations with no pressure or expectation. No demands for decisions and commitments to future events, just an invitation. Accept with understanding that I will have good days when I want company and bad days when I don’t.

No expectations, kindness and a hug.

I dreaded my first Christmas without my mum, I felt so empty.
The year before she’d gotten up before all of us and gotten in a box and got my dad to wrap her up - we went downstairs and she leapt out and said ‘you get to have me for another year’. She had a very morbid sense of humour, it definitely got darker after 3 years of late stage cancer.

She was the light, comforting, safe energy in a room - the first Christmas party was rough, 1 month and 2 days after she died.
Everyone disappearing off to the bathroom to cry every now and then.
My grandma sat with me and we drank wine and just talked and talked and laughed and joked.

The main thing I kept in my head all Christmas day was ‘its okay, it will end at some point. I just need to get through these 24 hours’, and sure enough it did end.

So if you’re dreading Christmas day, just remind yourself that it will come to an end. You will get through it.
Just take it all a day at a time and be gentle with yourself.


Your mum sounds amazing :heart:

I need someone to just listen to me and someone to give that opportunity to talk about how I feel and vice versa, I wanna listen to someone too


During the run-up to Christmas, I need those around me to understand that I’m up and down about the season because I and they loved Christmas- it’s sad to remember them, but it’s also happy because it’s such a wonderfully magical time of year (the juxtaposition of it causes confusion).
On the day, I need one moment where people appreciate/realise that they’re gone and then I need the rest of the day to be played out as merrily as possible; making up, as much as possible, for the fact that they’re not there.


Christmas will this year be nothing special for me both me and my wife spent it together because my Family had to Downsize and we just needed to be spending christmas by ourselves.
This Christmas i will be spending it with a Group of People at the Lmocal community centre where we will all be surrounded by a conversation as i feel this Christmas day will have nothing to give,my Wife enjoyed the run up to Christmas and especially Christmas day .But this year will have to be different from xmas past i will be pleased for myself when christmas is Behind me but i do wish all of you a Christmas filled with Good Memories,and Laughter wherever it comes from.I will be thinking of you all at the time.
I do wish that one more Christmas with my Beloved could have been made possible.But that was not to be.

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I could not face Christmas at home so decided to do something completely different and went to the seaside and had Christmas dinner in an old italian which was open. It helped a bit but still missed my husbad terribly.

Hi Pauline
I can’t face Christmas this year but i will be with people for Christmas i will Miss her Enormously she is my Pride and Joy,my First Love and my last.
I hope that any one not having this Grief,will enjoy the Festivities.
Love to you.

My first Christmas without my Keith, my son his partner & grandson are stopping with me Christmas eve as they don’t want me on my own Christmas morning, my daughter who’s husband died 18 months ago at 44 from cancer too & 2 granddaughters are coming over at lunchtime, we’ve talked about Chrismas dinner and we’ve decided to treat it as a little bit better Sunday lunch, I really don’t know how I will get through the days, Christmas was always such a happy family time, if they’d let me I’d rather forget about Christmas, got my first Christmas card today been in pieces ever since not done anything but cry, I just don’t know how I’m going to get through this grief.