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CHKD Blog

Family taking a look at some old family photos.

Grief During the Holidays

The holidays are a festive time that my children and I enjoy. As we began to unpack the holiday boxes this season, memories began to seep out of each container. The simplest of things brought up memories for us all, from ornaments that the children made at school to my father’s handwriting on an ornamental box. It was the first time I noticed the children ask, “Remember when ...?” That moment felt a bit surreal as I was flooded with emotions of nostalgia and somber remembrance of loved ones gone. In that breath of time, I recognized that my husband and I are a link for our children’s Christmas past, present, and future. Traditions are a beautiful thing to create, but it also comes with expectation – sometimes at a greater cost than we can maintain without losing our mental health.

My husband often reminds me to not hang my hat higher than I can reach. It reminds me to keep things simple to the extent that I can give without exhaustion and create meaning without remanence of overwhelming stress. This often calls for me to pull back and admit my limitations. I cannot do it all and sometimes things must be reimagined for the emotional space I am in.

My family has an advent calendar. The first year after my father died, we had a day of remembrance. We lit candles for loved ones and shared stories and pictures for the children to see who they descended from. It was beautiful. The following year, I could not even stomach the thought of doing that activity. What I needed and wanted to share shifted and I embraced the change.

I recently read a friend’s Facebook post, and it reminded the reader to “make room for grief.” This resonated with me. The truth is, we carry our loved ones with us in our day to day lives, and the holidays are no different. I believe grief calls us to slow down, to recall, to feel deeply, to share our sadness, and most importantly share our love. Our children are present when we grieve and are learning how to handle the tension of nostalgia and somber remembrance. This thought is not to apply pressure, but a call to apply kindness to ourselves as we mourn. It is an invitation to feel, to step back, to reimagine, to take care of your needs while you love and nurture your family. Traditions are beautiful, and they can also adapt to what is needed in the moment. May your heart be filled with comfort and peace this holiday season.



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About Jeane N. Liburd, MA, CCLS

About Jeane N. Liburd, MA, CCLS Jeané Liburd has worked in the field of child Iife since 2005. She earned a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy and is trained in play therapy. She currently serves as an adjunct instructor for Liberty University. Throughout her career, she has provided services for children and families in various settings including hospitals, pediatric hospice, and community programs. The focus of her work is supporting children and families who have experienced illness, grief, and loss.