Coping With Loss and Grief Around the Holidays

By Robert A. Gordon Jr., President & CEO of Cypress Lawn Funeral Home & Memorial Park

I talk with families every day who have recently lost a loved one, and they almost always say the same thing about this time of year: It’s difficult.

Some wish they could skip December altogether. Others tell me they’re dreading certain events or situations, like seeing that empty seat at the table or picking up the phone to make plans before realizing no one will answer.

I’ve experienced enough personal loss in my own life that I can relate.

If there was a recent death in the family, there may be questions like, “How can we celebrate at a time like this?” Or, “Who will bake our favorite pies now that Grandma is gone?”

If it’s been years since a loved one died, nostalgia has a way of bringing back feelings of sadness or loneliness. Traditions take on a more melancholy tone. The family photo still seems incomplete without your loved one in it. Maybe you’re reminded of better days when that special person was still with you.

While it’s true that no one grieves the same way you grieve, there are ways to find healing over the holidays.

Here are some ideas I’ve found helpful:

  • Revisit a favorite holiday activity your loved one enjoyed.
  • Add their personal touch to your home by playing their favorite music or making their favorite holiday food.
  • Consider donating time or money in memory of your loved one to a charity or organization.
  • Talk about your loss with others who have experienced what you are going through.

This holiday season, I hope you’re taking steps toward healing while remembering that grief has no set timeline. Regardless of where you are on the journey, our caring team members at Cypress Lawn are just a phone call away at (650) 550-8808.

We take our role in supporting families to heart — during times that are challenging and those that are full of joy — and we hope you’ll turn to us whenever you need us.