Grief has been a prevalent theme of 2020 and this year Christmas will be different for many Australians. The festive season is a time of celebration, but for those who have to cope with grief and loss, it can be a difficult time.
According to official records from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 158,493 Aussies died in 2018. That’s a lot of grief for spouses, children, mothers, fathers and family members this Christmas.
Australian podcast, Good Mourning, is hoping to open up the discussion around grief this festive season, by providing a platform to discuss what loss is really like. Co-hosts, Sally Douglas and Imogen Carn, who both lost their mums unexpectedly in their early thirties, interview interesting guests to hear how loss has shaped their lives, with honesty and humour.
“Despite grief being something that we all experience, it is a topic that remains hard to talk about. Grief can be lonely – especially during times like Christmas when you’re reminded of your lost loved one, and there’s the added pressure to be jolly. We want people to know that it’s absolutely normal to feel mixed emotions in the lead up to – and during – the festive period, and that they are not alone,” says Good Mourning Co-host Sally Douglas.
Sally and Imogen along with four inspirational women (and former podcast guests) share their advice on how to cope with grief and loss during the festive season.
Limit Social Media Use
Sally Douglas, Co-host of the Good Mourning podcast (@goodmourningpodcast), who lost her mum, Rose, to a sudden seizure last year says, “My advice for grievers during the festive season is to consider limiting your social media use. Sometimes, if you’re coping with a loss, scrolling on Instagram and seeing everyone else looking happy can make you feel worse, so try monitoring how much time you spend online.”
Make A Donation
Imogen Carn, Co-host of the Good Mourning podcast, who will be remembering her mum, Vanessa this year, says, “Christmas can be so tough when you are mourning a loved one who is no longer around to share it with you. But that doesn’t mean you can’t honour their memory – why not make a donation to a cause that mattered to them, in their name. You will be helping others, which can in turn make you feel good. I will also be buying my daughter a small gift from her grandma, to keep my mum involved in our Christmas day.”
Surround Yourself With Love
Danielle Snelling, Co-Founder, Motherless Daughters Australia (@motherlessdaughtersau), who lost her mum Rosa to a rare form of gynaecological cancer when she was 23 years old, says: “This Christmas, my advice to those experiencing loss would be to surround yourself with people who are understanding. And remember that it’s ok to have boundaries for those who don’t make your life easier during this time of year – quality over quantity is what matters.”
Let Yourself Feel
Sarah Tarca, Co-founder of The Wayward and Gloss etc. (@tarca), whose stepfather, Daryl, passed away from colon cancer in 2005, says, “My advice is to remember be kind to yourself this festive season. There is no ‘right’ way to grieve and there is no time limit. Feel however you want to feel – anger, resentment, frustration, numbness, sadness – all of it. Your feelings are valid. Do whatever helps you in that moment, to take you to the next. And know this: it will get easier.”
Buy Gifts For Your Loved Ones
Priyanka Saha, Founder of the Lily Calvert Foundation (@thelilyflower_), sadly lost her baby girl Lily at 10 and a half months, due to an incurable brain condition known as Miller-Dieker syndrome. She says, “If you’ve lost a baby, Christmas can be a brutal reminder of how things should’ve been. One thing that I have found really helps is to buy gifts for your baby and invite those spending Christmas Day with you to do the same, so that you have something under the tree with their name on it. Buy a keepsake or something that can be donated afterwards.”
Create A Tradition
Sally Steele, Podcast Host, Style and Mindset Coach and Author of ‘Dare More, Care Less’ (@steelemystyle), who lost her dad Ramsay in 2013, says, “Create a new festive tradition that honours the person who has passed, so that their legacy lives on for future generations. Each year, we give a toast to my dad and do things that he loved to keep his spirit alive, such as playing tennis as a family and dressing up in silly hats and wigs. We also all share one thing that we loved about him.”
What are your top tips on how to cope with grief and loss during the festive season? Tell us in the comments below.