A Grief and the Holidays Compendium

Editor’s Note: This week we are printing a compendium of comments to recent Ask Dr. Neimeyer posts focusing on grief and the holidays.

Hi..please help me to overcome the blame of my mom’s death, I lost my mom last summer. She had a heart complications (angina) and also arthritis, me and my sisters we took her to see her doctor, they did some test and they found her blood level was low, the doctor reduced some medicine, and gave also pain killer for arthritis….she used to have a lot of pain on her left side almost every day. I stayed with her in my house for five days, the sixth day she started complaining stomach ache, the doctor advised me the medicine to buy ,the same day at night the heart pain started, we gave her the paracetamol, the pain was too much, I gave the arthritis pain killer because we didn’t give that same day, after taking the arthritis pain killer the pain was still too much, after 10 minutes she said its like those painkillers has given her the stomach ache ,again after 5 minutes she just turned on her right side and she died, I called her doctor and after explaining to him he said it was heart attack, I feel guilt and regrets why I gave her those painkillers, maybe she could be alive today…


I feel guilty for calling an ambulance. My mum had heart failure which is treatable but due to COVID policies they just put her on palliative care. She had less than 48 hours of oxygen therapy but they stopped it because the hospital claimed my mum found the facemask claustrophobic and could not tolerate it so they just stopped treating her. She died alone the day after they stopped her treatment because we were not allowed in to see her due to COVID.

I keep thinking that if I had waited just a few hours to speak with the GP first then he could have done something for her at home. When we spoke to the GP after my mum had died he was shocked she had died – he said heart failure is not a death sentence and although not curable is very treatable, so I have to live with the fact that I sent her to the hospital and the guilt is unbearable.


I feel the same. My husband of 32 years died suddenly 3 weeks ago. I feel lost, broken, alone. My kids, my family and my friends have been so supportive, but I just miss him so badly. I loved my life with him. We laughed all the time. I don’t know who I am anymore. I am so sad.


My brother died two days ago. It was not unexpected. He had declining health issues for a long time. In addition, my wife is depressed but will not seek treatment and will not acknowledge her depression. All of this, plus my own seasonal affective disorder, has caused stress, anxiety and insomnia in my own life. I know that my brothers death is fresh, and still difficult to accept. How can I get through these coming days?


I lost my son to suicide last week. He was 17 and an all rounder. He was outwardly sick of studies and since he had said this almost every time his exams were near I couldn’t sense that he was so bothered. And it must have been general despair and depression as only studies couldn’t have bothered him so much. There was so much that i could have done differently and i dont think i can get rid of this guilt. I have an older son and everyone is saying that i have to live for him, but what if i fail him too…
is it possible to live like this?


I’m with you in your loss. I too lost my son in a hit and run accident at the young age of 14. It 9 days it will be a whole year that he is gone. I share some of the same worries with you but I don’t think there is a getting over it. How can we get over it? We have taken care of them since they were in our womb and even though it’s not the same type of care, I still want to take care of him. Immediately within the same week of his passing I put up a shrine in our living room inside of my old tv hutch. As every season has come and gone, so has his decorations. I’m able to dust it too and that gives me a sense of nurturing even if it’s just his pictures and few items that were placed there. In the beginning I asked his siblings if they wanted the shrine to come down but they both insisted we keep it up. I honestly feel that having it in our living room has helped our healing process a great deal. There is no getting over the death of our children but with time it is a different type of mentality when it comes to them. It’s hard to replace the fact of the pain and that they’re gone with anything because it’s what we live with day in and day out but I truly find comfort in his memories. In remembering how much he loved us and being thankful that we had the opportunity to love him then and love him still.
Thank you for allowing me to share. Happy Holidays!


My Grandson took his life September xx, 2020 Thank you to everyone who took the time to write here. I wonder all the time what can be done to help his parents, my son and daughter in law. I have been asked dumb questions from local people, like do you hate your Grandson. My answer, no why would I . I love him, he was 16 and he didn’t understand that this two shall pass. I am not angry with anyone. I just feel helpless and wish I could make it better. I know I can’t, so I have decided to just make myself available for what ever my family needs.

For advice about grieving during the holidays, click this link: https://blog.aftertalk.com/?s=holiday+grieving


Every Wednesday we will be publishing Pandemic Weekly for, we hope, not too long. We invite you to submit your thoughts, essays, poems or songs. Please send to info@aftertalk.com.

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