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Losing someone and dealing with grief can be hard at any time of the year, but as the festive period comes closer the loss might be harder to cope with.  

We have created a few ideas and tips for getting through the festive period if you are grieving.  

Remembering your loss

Schedule time over Christmas to do something in memory of your loved one. Light a candle, look at some happy photos, and tell others of a happy memory that you shared. Focus on the time you spent together rather than their absence in your future. 

Think about where and how to celebrate Christmas

If you’re going to be somewhere unfamiliar for Christmas, think about what you need to help you feel calmer. This might be things you could bring to help you cope, or a safe space you can go to have a break. Some places may feel very uncomfortable for you; for example if they bring back difficult memories. So think about how you could limit going there or talk to a loved one beforehand about how you are feeling.  

It’s okay to celebrate, don’t feel bad for having fun or being festive over Christmas while grieving your loved one. It can feel almost wrong to celebrate or have fun when you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, but it’s important to take time for yourself.  

Equally, don’t feel pressured – it can be hard around this time of year to say no to things. If you’re not feeling particularly festive, don’t be afraid to have a quieter Christmas just doing the things you want to do.  

Talk to people

Talk with your family and friends about how you’re going to approach Christmas ahead of time and discuss any worries or concerns that you have. It can help to let people know how difficult Christmas will be for you or if you have any particular worries. Something that means a lot to you, might not be something that they have thought about. Talking beforehand can ensure everyone is on the same page which can help reduce stress and conflict.  

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you are still caring for someone, it’s important you try and get a rest over Christmas too. If you’ve got friends and family who could help, even for a couple of hours, it’s worth an ask. Even if they don’t offer, don’t be afraid to ask – it might be because they don’t realise the impact caring can have that they haven’t offered. 

If you feel like you need to talk to someone now or around Christmas about how you are feeling, you can contact: 

  • Samaritans are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call them free on 116 123. 
  • The Silver Line – free confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people (over 55), open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Call them on 0800 4 70 80 90. 
  • Wiltshire Mind offers a range of services, including a counselling service.
  • You can call the Carer Support Wiltshire helpline on 0800 181 4118 during office hours. Our Here to Talk befriending service can put you in touch with a volunteer who will phone to check in regularly for a chat.

Plan ahead

Think about whether you really need to do things if you’re not looking forward to them. Can you do them differently or for less time? 

Make a list of any services that you might need over the festive period and their Christmas opening hours.  

Our opening hours are as follows:  

Christmas Eve – 9am-12

Christmas Day – closed

Boxing Day – closed

27th Dec – closed

28th Dec – closed

29th Dec – 9am – 4:30pm

30th Dec – 9am – 4:30pm

31st Dec – 9am – 4pm

New Years Day – closed

3rd Jan – closed

4th Jan – back to normal opening hours

If you’re worried about feeling isolated this Christmas, think about things that distract you. This might be doing something creative or spending time in nature.  

Try and plan as much as you can in advance, particularly if the person you look after likes or needs routine. 

If you live near to Corsham or Chippenham, we are holding a fortnightly Bereavement Help Point in these areas in partnership with Dorothy House, for unpaid carers who are experiencing grief. You can find more information here.