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Suicide Grief at Christmas

Whatever you choose to do this Christmas after losing someone to suicide, it’s important to note that there’s no right or wrong way of doing so. Grief is not about moving on from losing a loved one it’s about learning to live life without that person being physically present. Here are some tips for dealing with a loss to suicide throughout the Christmas period.

  • The build-up to Christmas can often be harder than the day itself; the shopping, the parties, the family outings. It’s ok to feel hard done by, angry or jealous; your Christmas has changed, so decide how to mark it, or not, going forward.
  • Decide what is meaningful and realistic for you to do this Christmas. Some people choose to skip the day and any festivities in favour of taking time to themselves or with their families to reflect. Be sure to talk about how your family are going to spend Christmas, especially if it is the first without your loved one.
  • Start new traditions; maybe light a candle and let it burn in the window to represent the person you are missing, the person you love very much and want to continue to share Christmas with; write them a Christmas/New Year’s message, or hang an ornament on the tree to represent them.
  • It’s ok to feel many things; anger, tearfulness or enjoyment being with your family even at this time of great sadness for you. No one should tell you how to grieve or behave during the Christmas period, as your feelings are liable to change from moment to moment.
  • It can be particularly difficult if you lose someone during December. Often the celebrations have started and so may come to a sudden stop for you. If you have children, it can be tough to continue with the traditions, but it’s important to maintain a level of normality. Explain to young children that Santa is still coming and that it’s ok to enjoy Christmas even if their family is sad.
  • Set boundaries if you are seeing people during Christmas; is it ok to talk about the person? Is it ok to hug you?

Everyone will survive this time of year in a different way so make sure that you do what helps you get through and not what is expected of you.

You will find more information on our Bereavement page including contact details for suicide bereavement services and peer to peer support. You may also find it useful to watch our short video on Bereavement by Suicide or read our Self Help eBooklet on Bereavement

Suicide Bereavement Support Services