Masthead: Coping With the Holidays After the Death of a Loved One or When You Are a Victim/Crime Survivor
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You Can Make It Through the Holidays

Closeup photo of the face of a man in distress and pullquote: Many have been surprised to discover that the anticipation of a holiday without a friend or family member can be harder than the actual holiday itself.Many among us have struggled with the cloud of sadness that may surround the holidays when a friend or family has experienced a tragedy such as a sudden violent death or a serious physical or emotional injury. The onslaught of holiday cheer may seem too much to bear. Holidays may give rise to new or returning bouts of depression, panic attacks, and other forms of anxiety for those whose lives have been affected. Victims of crime, family members, friends, and work colleagues may re-experience life-changing traumas through flashbacks, nightmares, and overwhelming sadness. Some have trouble sleeping, while others don't want to get out of bed. Tears may come easily, often when least expected. Old ailments, including headaches, gastrointestinal problems, and other aches and pains may return.

Many victims and families, however, have found that holidays can be manageable if they take charge of the season, rather than letting it take charge of them.

Families who have made this difficult journey offer some suggestions to help those who may be just starting down this path.

The Office for Victims of Crime is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
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Prepared by Justice Solutions, Inc., under grant number 2002–VF–GX–K013, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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Last updated on: 11/17/2005