Transitioning loss and grief during the holidays

Published 12:00 pm Friday, December 24, 2021


The holidays are a time of expected joy, laughter, gatherings of family and friends. This year is better than 2020, but as in years past people may feel disconnected, alone or disappointed as events fall short of expectations. Moments of melancholy pierce us more often and more intensely while everyone else seems to be happy, fulfilled and carefree.

For others this will be the first holiday season after the loss of a spouse, parent, child or beloved friend. The grief and pain held secretly in the heart appears to be unbearable. Well-intended friends say, “I know what you are feeling” or “I know what you are going through.” No, they don’t. Grief is personal and unique. “Just get over it!” Grief is not something to get over, it is something to get through. Thoughts from well-meaning friends through no fault of their own fall far short.

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Loss, grief and disappointment are life events requiring a path, a established method of managing. Mourning is external while grieving is internal. We mourn with friends and family but grieving is individual. Grief is necessary for healing. Allow yourself to grieve. Write down a favorite memory, a trip, party or a special surprise. Remember quiet words of encouragement or advice. Cherish a kind deed, a loving embrace. It is OK to cry. Tears are friends of your soul, releasing pain.

Everyone carries burdens of grief. However, many experience a new life springing from and building upon their past pain and grief.

We are not alone. Pain is unavoidable but suffering is optional. Stop, breathe and give thanks even in times of loneliness and grief.

Best wishes for happiness and healing.

MAXINE HOLLINGER AND DAVID LECKRONE of the Two Elder Guides can be reached via email at