Help for a Grieving Parent at the Holidays


For those of us who have lost a child the holidays are always a difficult time.  Sure, we put on a good act for our other kids and even our family because, to be honest, they couldn’t handle our grief year after year.  After several years, we appear “normal” (whatever that means) but the grief creeps up on us.  Literally – it creeps into our minds and our souls when we least expect it.  And once it does we’re done.

It takes over like an illness and it requires incredible effort to recover enough to have the semblance of a happy holiday.  I don’t know if there’s a clinical term for this but I’m calling it “seasonal grief disorder.”  If you think about it, our feelings are similar to symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder which include depression, fatigue, lack of interest in activities.

For bereaved parents the season can be their child’s birthday, angelversary and certainly the holidays.  It can hit us at milestones – when our child would have been graduating high school or college or we see our friend’s children getting married.

Unfortunately there’s no pill or quick remedy for seasonal grief disorder and the worst part is a parent never knows what’s going to trigger it or when it’s going to strike.  One moment you’re fine, humming Christmas songs and the next you feel like you’ve been hit by a bus and you can’t stop crying.

I’m a SIDS parents and I’m also the CEO of First Candle.  We’re here every day to listen to parents, grandparents or anyone else who has lost a baby.  Our bereavement support program is a critical part of what we do.  We know that we can’t take away your pain but we do understand it because we’ve lost babies as well.  And, over the years we’ve been able to teach parents how to manage their grief.

If you or someone you know is experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder, call our grief line 1-800-221-7437, join our Facebook SIDS support group or join us on Thursday, December 20th at 8P on our main Facebook page @FirstCandleforBabies for a live chat.