Grieving over the holidays: supporting adults


Grieving over the holidays: supporting adultsThe holidays can be a stressful time of year for many reasons. Travelling, entertaining, and managing work, health and life can challenge even the most balanced person.

While the holiday season passes too quickly for many of us, for those grieving it may seem like an eternity. Cultural expectations typically dictate that the holidays are happy and celebratory. The thought of spending these special days without a loved one may be overwhelming and unthinkable for some individuals.

Struggling to adjust to the reality of a death or separation from a loved one may feel like the future is uncertain and unknown. A grieving person may choose different ways to cope from one event to the next. They may completely avoid some celebrations, opt to travel during others or shutdown traditional celebrations altogether.

Here are some ways to prepare for the holidays:

  • Pre-plan and identify what type of support or activity you would like to do on days you know will be difficult.
  • Connect with everyone involved in the traditional celebrations that involved the lost loved one so that everyone’s’ needs can be addressed and respected.

Questions to ask the group can include:

  • Do they want to celebrate at all?
  • Can the missing person be talked about during the celebration?
  • Do they want to create a remembrance ritual?
  • Can a place be set at the table for the absent person?
  • Who would like to attend?

For more resources and support to cope with what can be a challenging time of year, visit us at, or connect with one of our counsellors.

With original content from Judy Leith, MA. CCC, Part-time counsellor in Calgary and Liz Hides, MSW, RSW, Affiliate counsellor in Calgary


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