Grief is hard at any time of year, but special holidays like Christmas, Hannukah, Diwali or Eid al-fitr for example, can be particularly challenging. 

National Grief Awareness Week is taking place from 2 to 8 December 2023. Here at Haven House, we understand that everyone’s experience of loss is unique, and we believe that there is no one way, or right way, to manage grief. We remain committed to supporting families through the most difficult of times.

This time of year, brings with it autumnal leaves, winter sun and seasonal chilliness. It can lead to a feeling of wanting to hibernate, staying cosy indoors. This can feel exciting, leading to memories of previous years and building expectations - it can also be a difficult time of year for many reasons. There can be a sense of darkness and tiredness as days get shorter.  We can feel societal pressure to conform and act in a happy and positive way that can be the very far from our reality. We are surrounded by images of happy families, and beautiful homes. We can feel financial pressures, and guilt if we can’t afford the things we (and our loved ones) see in the shops and on TV. All of this can cause anxiety, stress, and exhaustion.

For some of us, there is the added enormity of grief. This may be for a family member or a friend. It may be for your child. This is often particularly difficult around festive days and faith days.

In our latest blog post, our counsellor Alicia shares how on significant dates, such as birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas or other faith days, we can take some time to feel connected with our person who has died. 

Alicia says: “There is a theory of grief called Continuing Bonds. As the name suggests, this is about finding ways to reconnect with the person who has died, and maintain our (albeit changed) relationship with them. Grief is an ongoing process and Continuing Bonds acknowledges this. It is an expression of the fact that love never dies, and that grief is an expression of our love for our person who has died.

“If this feels like a connection you would like to explore, there are many ways to do this. Though not all suggestions will feel right for you, there will be ways for you to find your own meaningful connections. As with grief, there is no wrong way to build these connections, our relationships are very personal as are our memories, and these connections are personal too. They should be meaningful rather than pressured.”

“A few examples - it might be meaningful to eat food that reminds you of your person, visit places that were special to them, watch films that they enjoyed. It is okay to talk to them (inside your head, or out loud!) and tell them about your day or special events.”

Read more here

It’s important to know there’s always someone you can talk to:

Mind: 0300 123 3393

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Young Minds 
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