Gransnet forums


second christmas without dad

(26 Posts)
Dawn62 Thu 02-Nov-23 17:55:07

hello,sorry i have i think this last year messaged a lot about the loss of my dad oct 17 '22,but i have found comfort in the advice you gave me and your shared experiences.This will be my second christmas without dad and my second birthday without him i am christmas day child,i will be 62 have my own grown up family,husband ,grandchildren but the loss i feel for dad some days i cannot cope with and as yet still not really think he has died,my mum feels the same.I am very busy trying to sort out all the bits he left behind so at least that helps one day i know it will be sorted and i will have time to think,not looking forward to that.
Anyway mum is starting to talk about christmas and yesterday she was looking at a christmas tree when we out,i really don't think i can do christmas again this year,last year got the grandchildren sorted but that was it,i wonder if i am being silly just wanting christmas to not happen,without dad it seems worthless to me,mum says dad would hate to see you like this but i just cannot do it the thought of pretending life is okay is getting to me,how do other people carry on,my husband is happy with whatever we do and he is my best friend,am i ever going to be able to enjoy christmas or anything again without my dad,i just seem to put a face on things but inside a bit of me died with dad.
Sorry a jumble of words bit stressed trying to type.

Septimia Thu 02-Nov-23 18:05:32

You can't help how you feel.

All I can suggest is that you try to work out a strategy that will work for you to get you through the season. You don't have to do the whole Christmas thing but it might help for the future if you do something.

You will still miss your dad in the years to come but it will gradually feel less raw and easier to cope with.

Germanshepherdsmum Thu 02-Nov-23 18:24:35

Yes, people do carry on. Your Mum is doing so and for your own sake and that of your family you must do the same. You can’t live the rest of your life like this. Many of us here have lost both parents. I have and although it was in 2000 and I still miss them very much I have always carried on because I have my family to consider. I don’t want to ruin their Christmases by focusing on my own feelings and the places at the table which will always be empty, making Christmas an occasion to be dreaded rather than enjoyed and celebrated.

Your dad would not have wished you to ruin your life and the lives of your family like this. Of course Christmas will never be the same again, but it can still be good. You need to stop focusing on how you feel and think about how you can make Christmas good for your family. I don’t want to be harsh, but what do you want their Christmas memories to be? You have to work on making those memories good for them, not making what should be a happy time for them all about you.

Shelflife Thu 02-Nov-23 18:25:23

I do understand how you feel, my Dad died some years ago on Christmas Eve. My parents were very happily married for many years , Mum said after his death " This will never spoil future Christmas'. I thought if she can cope then so can I , she needed me to be as strong as possible . Mum loved Christmas and we always raised a glass to him at Christmas dinner. We now raise a glass to both of them! remember happy times and have a good festive season. It is still very raw for you but I think it will become easier as time goes on . I wish you well and try to have a lovely Christmas. 💐

Germanshepherdsmum Thu 02-Nov-23 18:41:04

My much loved Gran died suddenly and totally unexpectedly on 21 Dec when I was 15. She and Grandad were due to spend Christmas with us as always. Mum, an only child, carried on somehow. Dad took the decorations down straight away but somehow Mum still ‘did Christmas’ that year and every year afterwards until I had a family and took over. It was a salutary lesson to me in thinking of others despite my own feelings.

Shelflife Thu 02-Nov-23 18:45:24

Well said GSM !

Primrose53 Thu 02-Nov-23 19:19:08

My Mum died 2 weeks before Christmas 2020. So this will be my third one without her. She always dressed up in a lovely red cardigan and nice jewellery for Christmas Day, loved her lunch and being with us all.

To be honest the first Christmas without her I just felt relief that she was no longer suffering. Last year I just kept remembering her in her red cardi with her snow white hair and pulling crackers and knew she would not want me to be sad all day. This year I hope will be the same.

Everybody grieves differently and I don’t want to say you should move on but you must start putting the good memories to the front of your mind.

Just last night I rang my BIL as it was 2 year anniversary of my SIL’s death. He is still very up and down and sounded very upset. He has no family living nearby but he does see them a couple of times a month. He has agreed with me that maybe now he should consider some bereavement counselling as he admits he is feeling worse now than at the time she passed away. Might that be an idea for you? Take care.

midgey Thu 02-Nov-23 19:47:48

Primrose I think a lot of people find the second year harder than the first, I don’t think your BiL is that different to how I felt. Life will get easier hopefully.
OP I rather agree with your mum, I’m sure your father would not like to think of you simply cancelling Christmas. Life moves on with or without you….much better to be with!

Callistemon21 Thu 02-Nov-23 20:45:59

Anniversaries and celebrations like Christmas are always difficult but it does ease and you will remember the good times you had.

Ali23 Thu 02-Nov-23 21:35:51

Although it is more than 30 years ago now, I know that my own Dad’s death on Boxing Day had a profound effect on how our family dealt with Christmas.
It’s still early days, Dawn.
Is there something you can do on xmas day to celebrate him? A toast with a drink that he loved, play a piece of his favourite music, walk in a favourite place?
My mum always put a little santa flower arrangement out that he had on his hospital table on his last xmas. Now it’s mine and I do the same. In fact, my xmas decorations have become a collection of baubles and gifts from special people and I think of them as i put them out.

Chloejo Thu 02-Nov-23 23:50:48

I feel just like you my dad died Christmas Eve and mum Christmas Eve the following year. It’s been 9 years now and I miss them so much especially dad who I had lovely chats with over a Guinness about the past and our family. I just put on a brave face for my family light candles Christmas Eve for them. I make it nice for the family it’s only a few days so put on your smile for your own family and keep ur dad in your heart and the happy times you shared together.

Ali08 Fri 03-Nov-23 00:17:22

My Dad died when I was just 24. Very suddenly, too. Then my DCs Dad died in 2014.
I miss both of them very much, even though DCs Dad & I were not together then, but I was very close to him and he was very close to our DC & DGC.
It does get easier with time, you really just have to get used to your Dad not being here anymore!
Although, he is obviously still very much with you in spirit, deep in your heart which is exactly where he should be!
I found it eased me a bit to sit somewhere quiet & chat to my Dad, as if he was still there. I'd focus on a part of the room or something within it that I felt was where he might be sitting that day. I felt silly at first, but soon it became easier. Maybe you could try this, too!
My mum would talk to him, oftentimes when she was doing her chores and would say that he'd have had them done in half the time, even with just his one eye! 😆 (He had both eyes but had damaged one and had lost the sight in it).
As my children grew, I'd get them to say good night to Grandad and they'd wave at the stars. In later years, when they knew better, I didn't half get stick for that!! Lol
It doesn't help at this time of year, either. The early dark nights can leave many of us feeling depressed, maybe you could chat with your doctor about your feelings. It's possible they may offer you antidepressants for a little while, to help!
I had my Dad for just a short lifetime, while yours was around much longer, so of course you'll miss him!
Anyone who is close to us/us to them is badly missed when they go. Its human nature.
You're not being silly, and definitely do not let anyone tell you you should be old enough to get over it already, because they obviously haven't grieved for someone so close!!
Do you have any of your Dads clothing, maybe a shirt? If so, and you have a spare dining chair, hang it over the chair at Christmas and bring him to the table, you'll feel his presence then and hopefully be happier for it. Likewise, you could drape something over a comfy seat in front of the TV, and he'll be there watching with you - and don't be afraid to cuddle his clothes now and then if they help you. xx

Dawn62 Fri 03-Nov-23 18:30:30

Thank you all for your messages.I am very grateful,i feel like a bit of a misery,but at the moment everything is just a brave face inside i feel dead,i know i have the rest of my life to feel this way unless i try and pull myself together.I think it was the way dad died so suddenly with no goodbyes,a lovely death for him i guess having an op and never waking up but for us he was there and then gone.I sometimes forget i am not the only person to lose someone and dad was 83,i know i need to get a grip but i miss him so much,i haven't looked at a photo of him since he has gone i just can't but as i type this he is in my head so clearly,last week i had to have a new car tyre and i was thinking about the cost and popped into my head was my dad who was really keen on a car being well looked after for safety and he would say to me GET IT SORTED DAWN,i told my 5 year old grandson and he had a think and then said well i will say GET IT SORTED MAMGI[welsh for nana] that made me cry.

Anyway thank you all and i will read over and over these messages on my give up days and try and make some sense of things,people die i know and i need to start accepting it,look after mum she is 79 and misses dad so much married 61 years and i think she is coping better than me love her.

Gransnet is a great place for help advice friendship.

MaggsMcG Fri 03-Nov-23 19:33:46

This is my third Christmas without my husband and I have lost a lot of my Christmas spirit. I was an absolute loon over it before. I think I dont want to do it because he was so much a part of it. I'm just going to take it as it is and do what every I feel like. I have arranged to go out for Christmas Lunch with two of my family and a friend. He always cooked Christmas dinner, so I cannot bring myself to do it. You feel how you have to feel. One day it might not feel quite so sad. You will always miss him because you loved him but your Mum is right he wouldn't want you to miss out on things just remember the good times and always talk about him.

Cabbie21 Fri 03-Nov-23 19:42:44

If your Mum is coping well, you must too.

This year I have been invited by both my children! DH would not go anywhere on Christmas Day so now I am entirely free to go. There are positive sides to every sad side.
I shall miss our routines of a quiet Christmas at home where we celebrated the Christian festival rather than the razzamatazz, however, but there are plenty of other days for quiet reflection.

Redhead56 Fri 03-Nov-23 20:27:29

My dad was everything to me strong hardworking a handsome reliable man. I adored him he died very suddenly aged sixty six nearly thirty years ago. I miss him everyday but my son is just like him in every way I get great pride and comfort in that. My dad loved Christmas and did the best he and mum could do for us to make it special even though times were hard.

You are still in grief it will ease off as time goes by it will he is gone but certainly not forgotten. Your dad would not want you to be sad he would want you to be happy and content knowing he had a good life. He is still with you in spirit and in your heart think of the past when he was with you. It will lift your spirits and you can again enjoy the season with your family.

Calipso Sat 04-Nov-23 07:56:08

Grief is hard but all life comes to an end and sometimes the most helpful thing you can do is change the way you look at it. Rather than immersing yourself in what you have lost, be grateful instead for all the lovely memories he has left you. Carrying that love forward and sharing it with your family would be such a positive way to remember him.

Visgir1 Sat 04-Nov-23 08:08:29

My Dad has now been gone 9 years. I still miss him every day, every time I hear certain songs played on the radio I'm in floods of tears, grief never goes it just gets easier to handle.
He died in a September that first Christmas with out him I place a bottle of his favourite beer on our Christmas lunch table, a bottle of beer goes on the table every year now.
Mum has now gone just 3 years small bottle of Prosecco is placed next to it.
They are always with us, they will never leave our hearts but they would be proud we are getting on with life.

RosiesMaw Sat 04-Nov-23 08:23:22

Huge sympathy OP and those whose posts have followed who feel the same grief.
It is perfectly natural and no way should anybody feel pressured to “get over it”
Losing a parent, a partner, a child -all are a 100% loss and like losing a limb, you may never feel “whole” again.
I know I don’t.
But our parents would be the last to want us to be sad - when we were small, they’d “kiss it better” and speaking as a mother and a Gran, I think I feel; no grief more acutely than that of my children.
So honour the memory, remember those who are no longer with us with love , you don’t have to be “happy” in a jolly Christmassy way (personally I have abandoned my trolley and fled the supermarket before now when the Carols started) but if you possibly can, remember the good times, be glad you had a loving dad, his love for you did not die . This may be your mum’s way of coping, explain gently that it’s still hard for you and if necessary, take yourself off to a quiet place or out for a walk and reflect on the positive memories.
Then, pin a smile on your face for your Mum’s sake and the grandchildren and if this is your way, imagine him smiling down on you, content that you are happy together.
“Do not weep because he is no more, be grateful that he was

Witzend Sat 04-Nov-23 08:29:02

I’m so sorry, Dawn62. 💐

I was early 40s when my father died, and 10th December is still etched on my brain, because that was the day my mother phone in tears, to say that the GP had just told her that my father was dying. He died exactly a month later, so that was a very sad, subdued Christmas.
However he was always a very cheerful, jolly type, so I know he’d have absolutely hated to think that his death had overshadowed future Christmases, or made us grieve too much for too long.

Of course it helped that we still had relatively young children at the time, so for their sakes I did try to think of what I knew he’d have wanted - or not wanted.

It was a lot harder for my mother (still only 70) I know - they’d been married for 48 years.

GrannySomerset Sat 04-Nov-23 08:31:29

Wise words as ever from Maw and I I agree with all she says. I miss DH more than ever as the second Christmas without him approaches and am truly grateful for all that we has in over sixty years even though I will never be the same person I was.

karmalady Sat 04-Nov-23 08:35:45


My much loved Gran died suddenly and totally unexpectedly on 21 Dec when I was 15. She and Grandad were due to spend Christmas with us as always. Mum, an only child, carried on somehow. Dad took the decorations down straight away but somehow Mum still ‘did Christmas’ that year and every year afterwards until I had a family and took over. It was a salutary lesson to me in thinking of others despite my own feelings.

wonderful post GSM and can well apply to the widows here too, most of us carry on, take part in christmas for the sake of the other family members

OP try and look from outside the box, time to let go. What your dad will have wanted

Dawn62 Sat 04-Nov-23 09:40:58

Again thank you all.I have just sat down and read the new messages,i will keep going back to them in the future,I cannot tell you how much you all sharing with me has helped,made me cry but at the moment that is normal,but thank you so much.I will try and take on board all that you say,i was very lucky to have my dad for 60 years.Goodbye.x

Barmeyoldbat Sat 04-Nov-23 10:15:10

My daughter died last year and this will be our 2nd Christmas without her and when I was in Sainsbury I glanced at the Christmas cards and just about held myself together when I saw the cards to my wonderful daughter. I made it to the car and then just sat in floods of tears. Christmas was always pretty fraught with her, we had to do a round trip that took al day to deliver a Christmas dinner, presents and give her some company and I don’t know if anyone remembers me saying on here how she wouldn’t have the heating on. So it was always a hard day. I think our first Christmas not having to do it was pure relief but now that’s worn off. My heart goes out to those missing their loved ones.

Lucyd Sat 11-Nov-23 19:16:03

Grief never leaves you and the overwhelming waves of sorrow can strike at any time. Gradually the good days become more frequent but there are still often times when I feel floored by sadness. I was just getting back together after losing my only sibling in an accident in his fifties when my darling husband died suddenly in his early fifties. The pain was almost unbearable. If it hadn't been for my lovely Dad visiting every day and keeping me busy (even though he had terminal cancer at the time) I doubt I would be here. Now he too is gone and life will never be the same. Now I have a gorgeous grandchild and she brings much joy. I think once you lose someone you love you are changed but life has to go on. It is not the life I thought I would have but it still has happy moments. S3nding much love to all who are grieving.