Dealing with Grief at Christmas - Hope 103.2

Dealing with Grief at Christmas

For those who have lost someone, Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement CEO said it's important to find ways to express your grief.

Listen: Hear Christopher Hall, CEO of the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement, talk about remembering those who have died during the pandemic

By Katrina RoeTuesday 21 Dec 2021Hope MorningsChristmasReading Time: 2 minutes

This year many Australians will face their first Christmas with somebody special missing.

As Australia opens up, it’s important to acknowledge the losses of the past year. Many people have lost their loved ones due to COVID, while others lost the chance to carry out the usual rituals that occur when somebody dies.

Christopher Hall is the CEO of the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement and he said we need to recognise the impact of the pandemic.

“We’ve been living with COVID-19 for nearly two years. To some extent we’ve kind of accommodated this new reality, and particularly with the shift to high rates of vaccination, but we’re still seeing significant bereavements, significant deaths as a result of COVID-19,” he said.

“It’s not just those who experienced a death of somebody. In a sense, we’ve all lost something as a result of COVID – our way of life, the nature of our relationships and connection with people and it’s posed big questions of meaning for people.

“It’s challenged our sense of security and safety in the world,” Dr Hall said.

For those who have lost someone in recent years, Dr Hall said it is important to find ways to express that grief, whether that is through a meditation, a prayer, writing or listening to music.

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At Christmas especially, we need to find ways to acknowledge the person who is missing.

At Christmas especially, we need to find ways to acknowledge the person who is missing.

“One of the things we need to do is we need to find a place for the dead as well as for the living,” Dr Hall said.

“Grief is really love with nowhere to go. It generates an enormous amount of energy around it. And it’s about finding some means of expressing that.”

Dr Hall said that while many want to grieve communally with others and have that grief acknowledged, others will prefer to grieve alone and privately.

Here are some ideas to consider, keeping in mind that everyone grieves differently.

  • Spend time with people who are supportive and are brave enough to say the name of the person who is missing
  • Continue the rituals of the past and consider creating new ones
  • Donate to a charity in the name of the person
  • Greif is exhausting so take it slowly and don’t over commit
  • Try to find where your safe place is
  • Do things that give you a sense of comfort or pleasure
  • The My Grief app can link you with resources you may find helpful

“We need to recognise that people have different sorts of ways of dealing with their grief, but it also opens up creative ways for people to find new ways of recognising and acknowledging the importance of a life,” Dr Hall said.

Listen to the full conversation with Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement CEO Christopher Hall in the player above.