Coping with Grief During the Holiday Season

The holidays are fast approaching. It’s a season when most people expect their friends and family to be jolly and filled with festive cheer. For that reason many of my clients find this time of year to be the most difficult of all.
For those who are grieving, the juxtaposition of sadness vs. merriment can feel unbearable. How will I make it through this season? How do I wear a mask pretending to be okay? Finding the energy to do anything merry can seem impossible.
If you’re in this period of your life, you know what I mean. For those whose loss is getting lighter, I know you remember those feelings.
There are many techniques that can help you survive the holidays. I want to share two that were particularly meaningful to my clients.  
First, the lack of sunlight can be depressing and dreary, and darkening the already dark days of grief. A former client came up with the brilliant idea of lighting her home with flameless candles. Using a timer, she ensured she always came home to a house that was beautifully lit.
Second, the following ritual can be especially poignant, and will allow you to acknowledge your loved one and your feelings. It’s best done with family members who are also grieving but can even work with as many or few people as you wish.
Remember, it’s okay to cry.

Candle Lighting Ritual for the Holidays

This ritual serves to commemorate the loss of your loved one. It can be something you recite yourself as you light the candles, or you can ask people to each read a passage while others light the candles.

As we light these four candles in honor of you we light one for our grief, one for our courage, one for our memories, and one for our love.


The light of this first candle represents our grief. The pain of losing you is intense. It reminds us of the depth of our love for you.


The light of this second candle represents our courage to confront our sorrow; to comfort each other; to change our lives.


This third candle is a light to all of our memories of you. To the times we laughed, the times we cried, the times we were angry with each other; the silly things you did, the caring and joy you gave us.


This fourth candle is the light of our love. As we enter this holiday season, day by day, we cherish the special place in our hearts that will always be reserved for you. We thank you for the gift your life brought to each of us. We love you always.

Posted on December 4, 2018 .