Not Always a Merry Time for All

We asked LiSS (Living in Suicide’s Shadow) for this advice for people who may struggle this Christmas having lost someone they love through suicide. Its aim is to reduce the loneliness and isolation felt by those who have been bereaved by suicide and provide a safe environment in which they can share their experiences and feelings without judgement



Christmas is a wonderful time of year filled with memories of joyous celebrations and family traditions. However, after the death of a close loved one, Christmas is never the same again. How could it be? The lead-up to Christmas can bring on an array of feelings, including loss and anxiety, particularly if we have lost our loved one due to traumatic circumstances such as death by suicide.

How do we celebrate when our heart is longing for what was? We all put so much pressure on ourselves for Christmas to be perfect, and after losing a loved one, it certainly cannot be perfect. As well as the loss of our loved one, death can also affect family relations which can break down and become estranged as all those involved will be struggling with their own grief. Tragically, some need to apportion blame when, in reality, none is due. It is crucial to recognise that Christmas will never be the same again; that does not mean that we need to go into hibernation until the Christmas season (which seems to get longer each year) is well and truly over. It is essential to plan ahead to decide how we want to spend Christmas and who we want to spend the day with, be it family or friends.

If we have children, we tend to be led by their needs. We should not feel any guilt going with the momentum of decorating the tree and putting out a mince pie for Santa if that was something we always did. We need to remind ourselves Christmas is only one day. Like any significant day after a loved one dies, such as a birthday or anniversary, the thought of such an event can be more challenging than the day itself. Usually, we tend to be too numb on the first Christmas without a loved one and go with the flow led by family and friends who want to be there to support us.

Similarly, the following Christmas may be the same. As time goes by, we get used to dealing with our grief and start having the strength to change and create new Christmas traditions.

So if you are grieving this Christmas: remember no Christmas will and can ever be the same; be honest with yourself and communicate your needs and what works for you; plan ahead and don’t forget to include rest, fresh air and self-care time; be flexible as not everyone is grieving the same way; it’s OK to say no, it’s OK to be happy and to be sad; with time, hopefully, you will start to look forward and remember the happy Christmases past.

Wishing you the best Christmas possible!

LiSS hold walks one Saturday a month, alternating between Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion, in tranquil surroundings.

In June, it arranged an overnight 13-mile walk arriving in Saundersfoot at dawn, raising over £5,000 for three charities: Sandy Bear Children’s Bereavement Charity, 2 Wish and Papyrus.

After holding virtual support meetings during lockdown, it has recently started face-to-face meetings in addition, held in Carmarthen Leisure Centre on the first Tuesday of the month.

For more information:

Kitty Parsons

Kitty has forgotten how long she has been here now but she loves Pembrokeshire for its beauty and it's people. She spends her time searching out stories for, swimming in the sea , drawing and painting as Snorkelfish and eating cake. She says " has been an opportunity to celebrate this beautiful county and its people. Keep the stories coming. We love to hear from you."

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