Losing Someone You Love

If you've ever experienced the death of a close family member, or perhaps someone else very close to you then you'll understand how difficult it can be to imagine how you'll carry on without them. You are left wondering how in the world you will be able to make it through situations where you normally had them present.

How will you handle celebrations that are normally joyful such as memorable occasions like their birthday or the holidays? Holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries can be really tough. Thanksgiving and Christmas are particularly tough because of how much emphasis we put on these celebrations and they usually involve big festive gatherings.

No matter how you slice it, your life will never be the same, nor will your holidays. Things are forever changed. Time truly is a great healer though. I know you've heard that before and it probably brings little comfort when you are still fresh in your grief. But, I do promise it does get easier to deal with it as time passes on. You simply adapt and learn to rely more on fond memories of them to get you through it.

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
(Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Ornaments Will Carry New Meaning
Ornaments Will Carry New Meaning

How Do You Handle Family Holidays and Traditions?

I lost my son at the end of October 2003. His birthday was only 2 weeks after that and that first Thanksgiving and Christmas without him came very quickly in my grief process. It was difficult to imagine such important dates without him.

For me, there were certain traditions that no longer felt 'right'. Yet, there were other new ones that did. Don't be afraid to change your traditions if adopting new ones makes you feel better. Also, don't be surprised if things change for subsequent years.

For example, I found the seating arrangement difficult that first Thanksgiving and Christmas. My son always sat next to me on my right. I no longer wanted to sit in my normal seat because it no longer felt 'right' without him beside me. I chose to sit somewhere completely different. It took me years to sit in my original seat without it hurting that he no longer was sitting beside me.

Perhaps you have certain traditions that your loved one specifically did. For instance, maybe your loved one was the designated person for putting the star on top of the Christmas tree. You have choices this year. Perhaps you chose not to have a star at all. Perhaps you can designate someone else to place the star. Perhaps you can do it yourself in honor of that person. Perhaps you switch to an angel where having someone else put the angel on seems ok. Only you can decide what feels right. Don't be afraid to change things for this year. Just know that next year you can make a different choice.

Your goal is do whatever feels right for this year. Worry about next year, next year.

How My Mother Handled Her First Holidays Without My Dad

My dad passed away in September 2008.

In the years preceding his death, my parents had gotten away from putting up outside lights and they had even stopped putting up a full Christmas tree. They had switched to a small tabletop version. I think it has just gotten to be too much trouble for them as they had gotten older.

For Christmas 2008, just a few months after dad's death, my mother purchased a new Christmas tree that actually mounted to the wall and takes up half the space of a regular tree. She also put up lots of outside lights. It's not that she suddenly felt like celebrating, because of course she didn't. But, it was still what felt right. She celebrated Christmas in spite of her grief and it was ok that things were different. She actually embraced the differences and it helped her get through this tough time.

Things You Can Do In Rememberence of Your Lost Loved One

My son had been an accomplished artist before his death. When one of the local craft stores ran a Christmas sale on some really nice art sets it bothered me that he was no longer around to buy one for. I decided to buy three of them and take them to his school and donate them in his honor instead. His art teacher chose three students she thought would enjoy them and presented them to them.

There are so many worthy causes that you can give to in rememberence of your loved one. These are just a few suggestions:

  • Donate to some cause your loved one was passionate about.
  • Donate to a local organization that helps the homeless or battered women
  • Donate food to a food bank
  • Donate toys to a Toys for Tots program
  • Buy some gift you would ordinarily buy for your loved one and give it to a stranger
  • Plant a tree or shrub to remember your loved one as it grows

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Comments 42 comments

trish1048 profile image

trish1048 7 years ago


Great thoughts for everyone who has lost someone.  When my hubby died at a tender age, our families got together and scattered his ashes in the ocean.  He was an avid boater/fisherman, in fact, he died doing what he loved when he drowned.  This event took place many years after his death.  It was good to be with all the family on such a sad occasion.  It did help.  Plus, I know we honored my hubby's wishes, and I'm sure he was smiling down on all of us that day.

Thanks again.

KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks so much for sharing that tender story, Trish! I'm sure he was smiling down on you!

trish1048 profile image

trish1048 7 years ago

You're welcome. I like to think he's with me.

RooBee profile image

RooBee 7 years ago from Here

KCC, thanks for this. You provide good advice to those in the grips of grieving a lost loved-one. Your insights here can only come from someone who has had to endure this. I hope that your very well-written hub reaches many people who need to hear your words. My heart goes out to both you and Trish for your losses. I will appreciate those who are still with me all the more tonight after reading your words.

KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you so much RooBee! It's a 'club' I never wanted to be a member of, but unfortunately I am. It's a tough road and I and Trish aren't the first and certainly won't be the last. If anything we can say can help someone thrust into it, it's worth writing about.

Tom Cornett profile image

Tom Cornett 7 years ago from Ohio

Wonderful hub...anyone who reads this...it will help.

KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you so much Tom! Thanks for stopping by.

William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

A very helpful approach to this difficult problem, KCC Big Country. Personally, I found immersing myself in some good books helped me cope when my wife died in 2004. My friend Linda Palucci wrote an ebook about her efforts to cope with her husband's death, and, with your permission, I've linked your hub to one I've written about Linda titled, "Surviving the Death of a Spouse." Each of us must cope with death in our own way, but knowing how others have faced it and came through OK is helpful.

KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you, William! I have added a link above to your hub and you certainly have my permission to include a link to mine on yours. I will be reading all of it tonight. Thanks again!

William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

Thanks, KCC Big Country. When you lose someone who is close, you need all the help you can get.

muley84 profile image

muley84 7 years ago from Miami,FL

A very touching hub. Have you seen your son in your dreams? That is the common ground where you two can meet.

KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks muley84! Yes, I have had some wonderful dreams with my son in them. I have another hub where I talk about them a bit. It is something I cherish deeply.

seamist profile image

seamist 7 years ago from Northern Minnesota

I'm sorry you lost your son. Thank you for sharing your story and ideas on how to make the loss easier.

AOEHM profile image

AOEHM 7 years ago from Arizona

I appreciate you and this blog.

With gratitude,



KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you AOEHM.

SweetMocha-Monroe profile image

SweetMocha-Monroe 7 years ago

Thank you writing this blog. It's very encouraging and informative.

KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you SweetMocha-Monroe.

Beth100 profile image

Beth100 7 years ago from Canada

I'm feeling like I'm sinking this holiday. What you have shared is helping me. Thank you, again, as you are always there for me. xoxo

KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Awww...Beth....just remember this will be the toughest one. I'm glad I can help in some small way. Hang in there. Email me if you need me. (((Hugs))))

Animalanding profile image

Animalanding 7 years ago from Nevada

Hello, wow, just finished a hub a little bit ago then run across yours with the same title. It's good to know that there is someone else out there that also understands and can give advice. I always find the holidays to be tough. It was very nice reading your hub and knowing that there are others who care and are willing to help with advice. Thank you.

KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks Animalanding. I'll have to head over and check out your hub!

sudeep13582 profile image

sudeep13582 6 years ago from Howrah

nice emotional hub.. very unique.. thanks for sharing your insight

KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you Sudeep13582.

Attention Getter profile image

Attention Getter 6 years ago

Tears before I started reading it. Yes, I really like the idea of donating something in honor of a loved one. I also find that talking about them during the celebration brings out laughter when remembering silly things and helps with grief - even though there may be a few tears.

Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 6 years ago from South Carolina

This hub was very well written and had useful information, especially in regards to making it through the holiday season. I particularly liked the suggestions for changing traditions if they're too uncomfortable to keep at the present time, and the idea of doing things to honor the memory of their lost loved one. Doing things for others has a healing effect and helps one feel like they're doing something positive about their loss.

KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you Happyboomernurse. They are simply things that have helped me that I hoped my help others. Next week is the anniversary of my son's death and we will once again send off balloons to celebrate his life.

Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 6 years ago from South Carolina

That's a beautiful tribute and celebration of his life. I've always thought that the loss of a son or daughter must be the most difficult of all because a parent never expects to outlive their child. God bless you for sharing helpful suggestions with others.

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

Hi Kcc-wow, very touching. The title caught my eye b/c I have also written a hub about the loss of my husband. Your hub offers wonderful tips that I will certainly take to heart. Thanks. BTW, if interested my hub is called Unresolved Grief.

KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you Denise. I have read your beautiful hub about the loss of your husband and left you a comment there. I think it's important to share the information because so many people turn to the internet for grief support.

JBeadle profile image

JBeadle 6 years ago from Midwest

That is very good advice. Most of it I've followed or learned the hard way now... a few are new and I will keep them in mind. My mom passed in October 2009 - one day before her 80th birthday after a year long battle with congestive heart failure. She was my rock as my dad passed when I was 15 in my arms (doing CPR). A loss of a child would be the worst thing I could imagine. My daughter came close at 2 but she's 16 now and healthy. I'm definitely a person who sees the world in not what happens to you but how you handle what happens to you. You must be a person of incredible strength and a bright light that shines for anyone who knows you. I'm here to absorb some of your light. Thanks for sharing your pain and ways to get past it.

KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you so much, JBeadle for your very kind words. You've had your share of tragedy and loss. How you handle things makes all the difference in how the events that happen to you will ultimately affect you.

landokuhle  6 years ago

when we being love we take time to realise that and when we lost that love it where we realised that we had been love, that's what happened with me and its hard to return that love back again even though he still say he does love me but deep inside his heart he knows he is lying now even if he loves me its nolonger the same as bbefore

bigj1969 profile image

bigj1969 6 years ago from glasgow

great story,very powerfull.

KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you, bigj1969.

jeremytorres profile image

jeremytorres 5 years ago

How sad it will be.

mary615 profile image

mary615 5 years ago from Florida

Beautiful thoughts. Losing a loved one is a hard thing that we never get over; we can only cope the best way we know how.

karen 5 years ago

I lost my husband 5 months ago. I am not looking forward to thanksgiving or christmas.I have been invited to go to our nephew home. I don't want to go. Would it be ok if I just stay at home

KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 5 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you for you comments Jeremytorres and mary615.

Karen, I am a firm believer in you doing whatever makes YOU feel better. I'm also a firm believer in you not having to ask permission from anyone or justify your reasons to anyone. However, that being said, I would still hate for you to just sit at home and cry when you could be with family who care about you. Why not see the gathering at your nephew's house as a time to give thanks for nephews who care and celebrate the life you had with your husband? I'm sure you'll have time on Thanksgiving to be alone and reflect too if you'd like time for that. By not going to your nephew's house you might also be depriving him of him wanting to help you in a way he feels he can. In the end, do what feels best to you. Do what makes YOU happy. Don't stay at home out of sadness though.

Kim Pamperin 5 years ago

I lost my beautiful son in May 2010.He was 22 years old.

The Holidays are so very hard. I think about my baby all day everyday day, I don't know how to deal with him being gone. He was my life. And I miss him more than I could ever express.

adultsearch profile image

adultsearch 5 years ago from NYC, NYC

This story moved me. Your loved one is happy now with God. So keep smiling.

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Vickiw 4 years ago

It is so hard to lose a child. For some it is pain that never seems to go away. Certainly one never forgets. This is a well-written article, with really good suggestions. I facilitate a bereavement group, and one thing I have found - everyone is different when trying to cope with such grief.

Violet King profile image

Violet King 24 months ago

I lost my mother 7 years ago while she was pregnant, and the thing is she wasn't my actual mother in the first place. My blood related mother divorced my dad when I was 8 years old. Then my father joined the military and I was left to live with my grandmother until she died too. I was under the care of my uncle by then and my father came back from Iraq. He was very depressed when he found out my stepmother had died and he quit the army 2 years later, thinking that all the deaths that had occurred in our family was his fault.

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