• By Dana Sparks

Connecting Patients: Helping at the holidays

December 25, 2019
a festive holiday dinner table with family and friends

Grief and sadness don't magically end at a certain point after an illness or a loved one's death. Reminders often bring back the pain of loss. To continue on the path toward healing, know what to expect — and how to cope with reminders of your loss.

Reminders can be anywhere

Certain reminders of your loved one might be inevitable, such as a visit to the loved one's grave, the anniversary of the person's death, holidays, birthdays or new events you know he or she would have enjoyed. Even memorial celebrations for others can trigger the pain of your own loss.

Reminders can also be tied to sights, sounds and smells — and they can be unexpected. You might suddenly be flooded with emotions when you drive by the restaurant your partner loved or when you hear your child's favorite song. Learn more.

Grief and bereavement are universal, understandable, human responses to loss, but how each person processes the various symptoms and reactions can vary greatly. Because each person is different, how and when those feelings surface will also vary.
- Lisa DeSieno, Mayo Clinic Bereavement Services director in Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Read more: Grief and loss throughout the holiday season

Visit Mayo Clinic Connect, an online community where you can share your experiences and find support from people like you. You can also read Mayo Clinic expert blogs and take part in educational events.

Perhaps you have experienced difficulties, maybe health problems, loss of a job, or loss of a loved one. Maybe it is not possible to work-up the holiday cheer that everyone else experiences. What do we do with the holidays if we are not feeling cheerful and upbeat?
- Mayo Clinic Connect member

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