Holiday Grief in the times of COVID

Written By: Janet, Hotline Coordinator

In a year of extraordinary loss, more than likely, facing the holidays is filling many with anxiety. After almost a year of families staying home, and separated from one another, being unable to get together for holidays is not a new thing. However, being stuck at home due to COVID, in addition to “normal grief”, leaves people also grieving the holiday customs and rituals they thought they would have.  

 With stricter COVID restrictions being   implemented again, and people being asked to   stay home, normal holiday customs and   traditions are changing. The support they once   would have had, to help with their grief during   the holidays, simply isn’t the same or there at   all. Family and friends are left making the   decision to stay home and keep themselves and   others safe, or go see family and possibly get   sick. 

 So, what do we do when we can’t physically   gather? We have a few ideas for how to help with your holiday grief in this pandemic, so let’s get to it.

  1. Gather virtually over Zoom, Skype, FaceTime or another video call app.
  2. Cook your loved one’s favorite holiday meal and drop it off to those nearby. 
  3. Share your loved one’s favorite dessert recipe and have everyone bake it in their own homes. 
  4. Share memories, videos and photos of your loved one virtually. 
  5. Create a new tradition.
  6. Make a memorial craft together over a video call. 
  7. Host a watch party with your loved one’s favorite movie. 
  8. Write letters to your loved ones letting them know why you are grateful for them. 

Overall, skip the holiday altogether if you don’t feel in the mood for celebrating. These are unusual circumstances, so you are allowed to do what helps you get through them.  Make sure to first and foremost take care of yourself. If you do find yourself alone for the holidays while grieving and need someone to talk to, please call or text the 24-hour Washington State Crime Victim Service Center Hotline at 1-888-288-9221.