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Remembering Loved Ones Around the Holidays

Remembering Loved Ones Around the Holidays

Posted on December 14, 2023 by Patrice DePasquale, MSW, LICSW, and Samantha McCarthy, MS, CCLS

In the depths of winter, I discovered that there was in me an invincible summer.”-Albert Camus

As the seasons change, from spring to summer, fall to winter, we may be reminded of our losses and miss special people in our lives. Many feel conflicting emotions as the holiday season approaches, especially during the first year after losing a loved one. The anticipation leading up to our first celebrations without them can feel overwhelming and isolating.

Being open to support from family and friends and expressing gratitude for the love and gifts our loved one shared can shift our perspectives and help us once again feel the warmth of summer. Planning to honor and remember our loved ones can validate our emotions and help us feel more in control and bring meaning and joy.

To honor, remember, and celebrate your loved one around the holidays, try some of these rituals with your family:

  • Create a holiday decoration in memory of your loved one (memory lantern, ornament, picture frame).
  • Make and share a favorite food of the person who died.
  • Share favorite memories and stories at family gatherings.
  • Make a playlist of favorite songs.
  • Leave a chair open in memory of the person (place a picture or decorate the chair).
  • Watch a movie or show that the person liked to watch/continue a tradition.
  • Meet at your loved one’s favorite place.
  • Consider donating to a favorite organization of your loved one in their honor.
  • Write a letter of gratitude to your person/people who have died.

Learn about Care Dimensions' grief support services.

About the authors

Patrice DePasquale, MSW, LICSW, is Director of Bereavement and Pediatric Palliative Care, and Samantha McCarthy, MS, CCLS, is Children's Program Manager for Care Dimensions.

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