Losing someone over Christmas or coping with grief following the recent death of a loved one is always going to present challenges. Christmas is typically a very emotional time, and one that is laden with logistical questions: where will you and visiting family members sleep, who will buy the presents, who will cook the meals? Add to this the need for liaising with funeral directors and probate solicitors and it is easy to see how a bereavement over Christmas can quickly become overwhelming.
And the truth is that grief can make the usual challenges of Christmas both more difficult to get through and more heart-rending; it's not as if the magic of Christmas can just anaesthetise or dissipate your hurt. In fact, for many the happy associations and familial intersections of Christmas can actually compound emotional turmoil and vulnerability, particularly for those who feel the pressure to "perform" happily during the Christmas season through fear of upsetting others.
Divorce at Christmas can be an incredibly difficult time for everyone involved but it can be possible to get through it. Read our top tips to find out more.
Surviving Christmas in the Midst of Divorce
Going through a divorce at Christmas is not something anyone would plan, but, for many, it is a reality. In fact, Christmas is the time of year when relationships tend to come under the most strain, and for some this will prove irreparable. This is a position supported by research conducted for 'The Visual Miscellaneum' (David McCandless and Lee Byron) who, after analysing countless Facebook profile relationship updates, found that the Christmas period is the time when a relationship is most likely to end.
For anyone who has ever had a family, let alone a marriage, the reasons are pretty obvious: December is the final month of the year and is therefore the time in the calendar in which it feels natural to bring an end to the relationship cycle; it is also the coldest time of the year and a bit of depression brought on by Seasonal Adjustment Disorder is to be expected; it is also a time of enormous stress, as Christmas’s practical and financial pressures intersect with the playing out of complex family relationships.
But for those who are already facing divorce or who are coming to terms with the reality of a full and irrevocable relationship breakdown, how is it possible to negotiate and survive Christmas without locking ourselves in a darkened cupboard and banging our heads against the wall?
How you can get through the challenges of Christmas with children following a divorce.
Perhaps no other time of the year is quite as conflicted and confusing for a divorced parent as Christmas, especially the first one after relationship breakdown.
Whether the children are celebrating the season with you or with your former spouse, the mere fact of Christmas with all its logistical, symbolic and sentimental challenges can easily leave you feeling overwhelmed, embittered or regretful.
Yes, it's all too easy to turn on the television to see all the studio-lit, happy families of Christmas movies and feel like you are the only one who is suffering family problems. It may well seem that you are alone in experiencing misery and sadness at Christmas and that you are responsible for your children being deprived of what should be the most joyous time of the year.
One of the most significant and traumatic awakenings we all experience is the childhood realisation that we have no choice about the inevitable: all that lives must die. However, while death is unavoidable this shouldn't mean that we have no choice about how we die and how our passing is handled.
The experience of many bereaved people can be disappointing at many levels: from concern over financial issues, such as fees and costs for probate and funerals, to more intangible aspects such as the level of service received from agencies handling the death and feelings of disempowerment.
But the aftermath does not have to be impersonal or out of our hands.
An interesting Wills and probate case is developing involving several of the UK’s leading animal charities -- Friends Of The Animals, Dogs Trust, World Animal Protection, and Heart Research UK.
The case centres on the disputed estate of a woman called Tracey Leaning who died in 2015 at the age of 54. The plank concerns the validity of Ms Leaning's Will, with the animal charities claiming that her second Will, made shortly before her death, is invalid because her signature was written on a second piece of paper that was not stapled to the first (although both sheets of paper which constituted the rewritten Will were in the same sealed envelope and the signing was witnessed by two neighbours).