To absent friends this Christmas

Monday December 18th 2023

James Morris Managing Director of William Purves

As we approach the end of 2023, James Morris, a Dalkeith resident and managing director of William Purves Funeral Directors reflects on this time of year.

Our memories are such a powerful thing, aren’t they? Every day I do this job, I see how precious every single memory is of someone loved and lost. One of the most important things to do as we grieve a loss is to cherish, revisit and especially to share memories. To share our memories, to speak about the one we have lost and are missing is both comforting and healthy, whether it brings a smile or a tear to our face.

We all know that anniversaries, birthdays and holidays are rich with memories and consequently they can be particularly hard times. But Christmas, a time we traditionally spend with family, can stir up grief in the most unexpected ways. It’s a time when some of us relax amongst loved ones and the guard we hold up may fall. For others, it’s a time of tension and stress fuelling underlying anxiety.

The festive period pitches grief versus celebration. If this Christmas is the first time you’re without that loved one, it’s going to be new and unfamiliar. Milestone days that follow in the first year after a loss are often faced with dread and that’s completely normal.

But there are ways in which we can prepare to ensure it doesn’t always catch us off guard. Toast the loved one who is absent. Share the memories. Revisit old times. Cherish the moment. It’s allowed and in doing so, you take a little more control over your feelings – as well as managing the expectations of those you’re sharing time with.

Something I’ve learned over the years that I feel is a valuable piece of advice to end on, is this: if you are supporting someone facing loss this Christmas, make a point of speaking about their loved one inviting them to talk and share their memories. Allow them a trip down memory lane and join them on it. Chances are, their loved one is front of their mind so being able to talk and share may mean the world to them, making their journey through the festive season that little bit more bearable and even special in it’s own way.

If you, or someone you know needs help, get in touch with us in Dalkeith or Penicuik or call us on 0131 447 5858.

Lean on our experience when you need it the most.

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