It’s Hard When You’re Grieving At Christmas Time

I am grieving.

Grandma died just before Christmas and it has been really tough.

Death Doesn’t Know It’s Christmas Time

We think the whole world stops at Christmas Time; there are bank holidays, no school, closed shops, etc. But unfortunately death knows no such boundaries.

Grandma died right at the beginning of the festivities. The kids had broken up from school, we were on the five hour car journey to stay with the in-laws, we were singing away excitedly to the Christmas Hits, and suddenly we heard the news…

Somehow I had to get through the Christmas period.

Grieving bauble black and white

Hubby rang ahead and explained to his parents what had happened, but there wasn’t really anything they could do. They gave their condolences on our arrival, but there were parties planned and family reunions to attend and presents to be exchanged.

They didn’t know my Grandma. She wasn’t from their side of the family. I couldn’t expect them to suspend everything.

It’s hard when you’re grieving at Christmas.

The world carries on. It has to. But at the same time, you want to scream at them, “Don’t you realise what has happened??!”

Grieving Is Hard When It’s Christmas

If it was a normal day, you might ring into work and tell them that you’re not coming in. The news would slowly drift around the office and the texts and sympathy cards would filter through to you.

But at Christmas time, the office is closed, or people are on holiday. You’re out of routine and you don’t see the people you normally see every day. You don’t have the support system that you would at any other time of year. It feels too abrupt to just text people the news out of the blue.

So you carry your grief alone.

Friends happily wish you a Merry Christmas, and it just doesn’t seem like an appropriate time to tell them that actually you’re breaking inside. You flash a smile and wish them a Happy Christmas…and your heart contracts so tightly in your chest that you can hardly breathe.

Don’t Spoil It: Don’t Ruin Christmas

I didn’t want to ruin Christmas for my girls. Jenny (5) has already begun to question if Father Christmas is real so who knows if this might be her last “magical” Christmas?!

Friends and family had gone to a lot of effort arranging parties and buying presents. I couldn’t put a dampener on that.

I tried my best to put my grief to one side.

I sang and I smiled and I laughed and I danced. And in many ways, I did enjoy Christmas. It was wonderful to see people, and our girls received some lovely gifts. I enjoyed playing games and going out walking.

There were even times that I didn’t think about Grandma.

But I was exhausted; permanently exhausted. I am learning that grieving is not just an emotional process – it’s a physical one. You can’t eat, and then you can’t stop eating. You’re tired and lethargic all day, but you can’t sleep once you’re in bed.

Even when you aren’t consciously grieving, your brain is still working through the loss and trying to make sense of it all. That’s draining.

Grieving Cross Clouds

Back To The Humdrum

The funeral was the first week in January, and so it loomed over the whole of Christmas. It was hard, but I thought I was coping.

But as I awoke on New Years Day, I fell apart. It felt like the news was brand new again. The festivities were over and next on the agenda was the funeral. There was nothing left to distract me; no visits or parties or presents. It was just me and the humdrum of normal life.

I think lots of people get that feeling once Christmas is over, but it feels a hundred times worse when you’re grieving and you’re working yourself up towards a funeral.

I Need Time To Process It

I realise now that there has been no time to process things over Christmas. I have been on survival mode. I have been “getting through”. Now the reality has hit. It almost feels like a new wave of grief; like I’m hearing the news for the first time again.

I went to the funeral yesterday. Somehow I managed to stand up and read out my tribute, but I cried pretty much the entire rest of the day.

Today we are back to “normality”. It’s just the toddler and I at home. I have been trying so very hard to focus on playing with her new doll’s house, but my mind keeps wandering. I’m going over the memories of my lovely Grandma, replaying them.

I’m mourning those happy times that will never happen again.

I guess this is the result of grieving at Christmas time; a delayed grief. It will take time to process things, but I’ve already had two weeks. Will people understand that those two weeks don’t count? Those two weeks, I was focussed on making sure everybody else was okay.

Now I really need some time for me.

Please be patient with me. Please give me time. I need time. I will get there. I will slowly assimilate the information and get to grips with my new “normal”, but for now, please remember that it’s hard to grieve at Christmas Time.

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  1. 2

    I totally understand this. I had a loss a few years back and Christmas was so so difficult. I thought of my friends this Christmas who were going through grief and remembered that the season is not always a happy one every year. #BrilliantBlogPosts

  2. 3

    Oh Lucy I am so very sorry for your loss and at this time of year. My heart really goes out to you. Such a time of reflection anyway so made so very much harder. This is a wonderful post and I hope that you get some time over the coming weeks for you my lovely xx sending hugs xx #ablogginggoodtime

  3. 5
    Squirmy Popple

    I’m so sorry for your loss – it’s hard to lose a love one at any time, but especially at Christmas when everyone around you is celebrating. Take all the time that you need to process it all and heal. #ablogginggoodtime

  4. 6

    Firstly, so sorry for your loss. My partner’s best friend died the first week of December, his loss is huge too and the funeral was in the week between Christmas and New Year. They had been friends for 40 years and he has felt so ill since losing him. He lost his two best friends last year, our Dog was the other one. It affects us in ways we cannot imagine until we are unlucky enough to experience them first hand. I hope that the memories you cherish, bring you comfort, as ours have of our loved ones. Your post has reminded me that what he is going through too, is grief, which takes so much time to heal.

    • 7
      Lucy At Home

      Oh gosh, I am so sorry to hear this sad story. It must be so difficult. I hope that he is starting to come to terms with the loss, but I’m sure the hurt will still be very difficult to deal with…

  5. 10
    Chantelle Hazelden

    So sorry for your loss but well done on getting through what should be a happy period and coming out the other side #PoCoLo

  6. 11
    An Imperfect Mum

    Oh Lucy I am so so sorry and you are of course spot on. Having time and space to grieve is so important and at Christmas you just don’t get that. Try and have some time just for yourself if you can. I lost my grandma 2 years ago and just the other week burst out crying when I saw a lady who reminded me of her. Be kind to yourself. ❤️ Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime

  7. 13

    Oh bless you Lucy, I am so so sorry for your loss. I lost my Grandma 11 days before Christmas back in 2005, it’s a horrible time to lose someone you hold dear. Thinking of you. #pocolo

  8. 17

    Sending so many hugs. You’re right – you’ve delayed the grieving and that’s not a bad thing, you just need to make sure you allow yourself to grieve now. it doesn’t matter whether people understand that or not. Just take your time – and seek help if you need it… Lots of love x #pocolo

  9. 20
    Fran Back With A Bump

    Oh Lucy. There’s never a good time to lose someone, but Christmas is tough. We lost our little boy the weekend before mothers day so that was a strange day only getting one card. Sending all my love. Stay strong. Thanks for joining us for #marvmondays x

  10. 25
    Stephanie Robinson

    Sending hugs lovely, so sorry to read of your loss. I bet your Grandma would have been so proud of you holding it together for your family and for their magical Christmas, but you’re right you need time for you, for you to grieve and come to terms with the new normal. Two of my uncles died before Christmas, their funerals were ten days apart either side of Christmas. Oldest and youngest brothers from a family of seven, twenty years between them in life. Sending even more hugs now, and thanks for sharing with #PoCoLo xx

  11. 27
    Tania @ Larger Family Life

    I am so very sorry to hear of your loss. Yes, grief is a terrible, terrible thing and is only exacerbated at times like Christmas. I lost my father in June after he was diagnosed with cancer three months earlier. During this time my brother, my only sibling, was fighting leukaemia. He lost his battle in November, just ten days before his 35th birthday. The tunnel is dark and I don’t know if my life will ever be the same again but your post was beautiful. I wish you all the very best during this sad time.

    • 28
      Lucy At Home

      Oh Tania, I am so sorry to hear of such horrible circumstances. This must be such a difficult time for you. I wish you all the best and hope that 2017 helps the pain to ease a little although, as you say, you’re never the same once you’ve lost someone. Lucy

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