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John James, founder of The Grief Recovery Institute

John W. James

Founder of The Grief Recovery Institute®
Co-Author of The Grief Recovery
Handbook & When Children Grieve

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Russell Friedman, Executive Director of The Grief Recovery Institute

Russell Friedman

Executive Director
Co-Author of The Grief Recovery
Handbook & When Children Grieve


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Post-Holiday, Grief-Related Blues!

Many people are rightfully concerned about the powerful impact of the end-of-year Holidays that can have on their friends who've recently experienced the death of someone important to them.

But we also need to be mindful of the other Holidays—the ones that fall at different times of the year—which can hit grievers with a powerful emotional wallop. Keep in mind that the biggest single issue about the holidays is the reminder they make of the sense of "family," that has often been shattered by the death of someone within the family.

With that in mind, we are publishing this "post-holiday" article the day after Labor Day. We'll leave it up for a couple of weeks so anyone interested can learn more about how they are reacting to this time of year, or how they can be more helpful to friends and family who are struggling with the rminder of who is no longer here.

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Logically, for many grieving people, the holidays are difficult enough, especially the first season after someone important to them has died. But many are surprised to find that the new year doesn’t automatically bring an end to the emotional pain caused by the absence.

In fact, it is after the holidays that the day-to-day reality of the now-missing person sets in, without the distraction of the mad swirl of shopping and family gatherings. It’s a time when emotions can get amped up and cause you to think that there’s something very wrong with you.

Rather than there being something wrong with you, what you may be feeling is the natural by-product of your attempt to adapt to the the very changed circumstances of your life. Learning to function the way you did before the death, while normal and healthy, is not always the smoothest and easiest transition in the world.

Many years ago, a grieving person told us, “My grief is the feeling of reaching out for someone who has always been there, only to discover when I needed her one more time, she was no longer there.”

Those poignant words have helped many people not feel as alone and lost as they often do in the time following the death of someone who meant so much in their life. And those words certainly can be helpful in the transitional time after the holidays.

But other people’s words are not enough. In addition to taking actions to grieve and complete what the death left emotionally unfinished for you, it’s wise to find at least one person with whom you can talk openly and safely about the feelings you’re having as you try to move forward in your life. You can defeat the isolation of grief by participating in your own recovery.

For any of you who are concerned about a grieving family member or friend, please take the time to make yourself available to them. Let them know that the topic of grief is open and that you will listen without judgment. It may be the greatest gift you can give.

© 2014 Russell P. Friedman, John W. James and The Grief Recovery Institute®. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint this and other articles please contact The Grief Recovery Institute at info@griefrecoverymethod.com or by phone, 800-334-7606.

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If you or someone important to you wants help with grief: Look for a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist℠ in your community. The Grief Recovery Institute ® trains and mentors Certified Grief Recovery Specialists℠ throughout the United States & Canada.

See Russell and John's blog at Psychology Today

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