Dealing with Grief and Loss of a Loved One during the Holidays: Insights from Stephen Garrett

Losing a loved one during the holidays can be particularly difficult. In this post, Stephen Garrett shares his insights and ideas for dealing with grief and loss during this time of year. Learn how to plan a celebration that honors your loved one and helps you cope with the pain of their absence.

Dealing with Grief and Loss of a Loved One during the Holidays: Insights from Stephen Garrett
There are many types of grief

The intricate journey of navigating grief and the profound loss of a loved one finds poignant expression in the reflections of Stephen Garrett, the author behind "When Death Speaks." Stephen's recent Facebook post delves into the complexities of managing grief, a subject that holds deep resonance for me due to my own experiences of losing my mother at a tender age and, more recently, my eldest son. Stephen's musings serve as a guiding light, illuminating a topic that society often shies away from addressing openly.

As someone who lost my mother almost four decades ago, the holiday season remains a poignant reminder of my loss. I recognize that many others share this sentiment but choose to carry their burdens silently. Stephen Garrett's words are a valuable contribution, offering practical insights for navigating this challenging terrain during a time when society expects us to be full of festive cheer.

In his recent post, Stephen calls for open conversations with our families about handling grief and loss during the holiday season, even with Christmas still a month and a half away. By planning how to celebrate the holiday while also honoring the memory of our departed loved ones, we can infuse the season with a sense of grace and authenticity.

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    His article titled "Christmas Without Jody" vividly captures Stephen's personal journey through the first Christmas following the passing of a beloved family member. He recalls the difficulties his family faced in confronting the void left by Jody's departure. The societal taboo surrounding discussions of death cast a shroud of silence, which only intensified their grief.

    Stephen emphasizes the importance of breaking free from this silence, offering a range of meaningful suggestions to honor the memory of those we've lost during the festive season. Among his recommendations are wrapping a gift designated for the departed and placing it beneath the Christmas tree, adorning the tree with a special ornament in their name, setting a place at the table for them, sharing anecdotes of cherished memories, and engaging in acts of kindness as a tribute.

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    Holidays are challenging when you have experienced a loss

    However, Stephen underscores that these suggestions play a secondary role compared to the primary importance of families engaging in open dialogues about their loss and collaboratively planning how to approach the upcoming holiday season. He encourages families to engage with their emotions – both the sorrow of absence and the joy of the festivities – and to allocate space for these sentiments to unfold.

    Stephen's words resonate deeply within me, serving as a poignant reminder of the significance of acknowledging grief and loss amid celebratory times. His counsel is clear: fostering openness, encouraging communication, and embracing our feelings can lead to a more graceful and meaningful Christmas. For those seeking further insights, Stephen's website,, offers a wealth of resources.

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