Today's Big Stories

How to get through the holidays when grief-stricken

Grief is heavy and complicated, more so over the holiday period.

Behavioural psychologist Dr Helgo Schomer says that grief can be life-long, depending on the nature and strength of the bond that is lost.

Dealing with death or loss over the holiday season can be difficult, as there are many family gatherings, celebrations and other festivities that may worsen the wound.

All the tinsel and happiness around you can hurt even more.

Dr Helgo Schomer, behavioural psychologist

Dr. Schomer advises that it is important for people to mourn in their in own time and through their own rituals, before finding the strength to move forward.

While families may experience loss over these holidays or commemorate the death of a loved one, Dr Schomer insists that there is no script to deal with often uncontrollable emotions.

Grief is one of the most uniquely individual experiences in life.

Dr Helgo Schomer, behavioural psychologist

Grief and loss is not a tidy and orderly process. It is emotional chaos.

Dr Helgo Schomer, behavioural psychologist

He offers the following advice to those grieving around this time:

  • develop new rituals with remaining loved one's
  • share with someone the grief you are feeling
  • practice whatever you have to in order to remember and celebrate the life of the person you've lost
  • no matter what well-meaning advice you receive, do what is best for you
  • realise that there is no template for grief
  • be patient. do not rush your grief, or pretend for others
  • take time to let signs of life come back to you

Dr. Schomer encouraged remaining loved one's to continue to be supportive and caring towards those grieving and ask what they need.

Take a listen to callers open up about their highly personal grieving processes:


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