Grief and Loss
My brother just died and the holiday season is coming. How can we cope?

It’s normal to feel a mix of emotions during bereavement. Feelings of grief can come up at unexpected times, and holidays can be a trigger. The pressure of getting into the spirit of the season can add to the difficulties and churn up even more emotions.

Some people who are grieving find it reassuring to participate in traditional holiday activities, while others may find it too difficult. None of you should feel guilty for how you’re feeling. Each of you has your own way of coping, and each of you has to find what’s best for you.

It probably helps everyone to expect the holiday season to be different without your brother. These are things that some families have found helpful during this time:

  • Plan ahead and incorporate memories of your brother into the plans;
  • Find ways to give to others in need;
  • Begin new traditions;
  • Do something completely different from anything you’ve done before.

It’s important to realize that celebrating the holidays and enjoying yourself is not a sign of disrespect for your brother. Acknowledge that grief may be a guest during the holidays. This is vital for everyone, so you can feel comfortable sharing memories and emotions.

Grief Work