A Time to Speak – Coping with Christmas after the death of a loved one

Javier Fajardo

Javier Fajardo

When we think of Christmas, we generally think of times spent with family and loved ones.  Times in which we created fond memories that we will remember and cherish for the rest of our lives.

Christmas (or any special occasion) can be daunting if you have experienced a loss, as you wonder how you will manage your emotions through the holidays without falling apart or spoiling everyone else’s holiday season. The anticipation of Christmas can sometimes be worse than the actual days themselves, since additional sadness and anxiety can be caused by not knowing how one will react.

Coping with Christmas after a loved one has died is especially hard. Christmas makes us realize even more how much we miss our loved ones and seems to magnify the pain. The sadness and loneliness might seem unbearable at times.  It is important to find healthy ways to acknowledge and process such feelings.

You can and will get through Christmas.  Instead of trying to avoid the feelings of grief, embrace them, talk about them and process them.  In doing this, the road to healing can begin. There are different ways in which you can incorporate your loved one into the Christmas season.

One meaningful way to incorporate your loved ones into the Christmas season could be by joining Archbishop of Louisville Joseph E. Kurtz in prayer for a ceremony of “The Lighting of the Tree of Remembrance” at Calvary Cemetery on Dec. 1 at 6:30 p.m.

Our wish is to remember, honor, and celebrate the life of your loved one by inviting you to place an “in memory of” ornament during the month of December. 

Catholic Cemeteries extends this opportunity to everyone who mourns the loss of a family member or friend, regardless of when or where the person was buried. You can bring your own ornaments or request a personalized complimentary ornament provided by Catholic Cemeteries. 

The ornaments can be placed on our Tree of Remembrance beginning on Dec. 1, and will remain on the tree until Jan. 6, 2018.

Javier Fajardo is the executive director of the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Catholic Cemeteries.

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