How Christmas has forever changed now for Holly

"I didn’t see the point of celebrating when it felt like my heart was constantly breaking."

Holly shares how Cruse Scotland has helped her to cope following the death of her Grandad.

December 01, 2022

My Grandad meant everything to me. We had a very close relationship.  Following the death of my Granny (his wife) we spent a lot of time together. He looked after me every day after school and during the school holidays, he was my biggest cheerleader in everything I did. He died suddenly in 2019 – I was totally bereft; my cheerleader had gone.

I really struggled that first Christmas without Grandad; I didn’t see the point of celebrating when it felt like my heart was constantly breaking. Grandad and I would usually attend church services on Christmas Eve, so going to these was unbelievably difficult. That year, I think I spent the majority of the services sobbing.

The best way I can describe it was that my heart just felt so heavy, but empty at the same time. There wasn’t a day where I wasn’t emotional or struggling. When I realised I was really struggling to cope with losing my Grandad and it didn’t feel like my heart was healing, I decided to reach out to Cruse Scotland.

I didn’t know what to expect, but Cruse Scotland was fantastic from start to finish. My counsellor, Kate, was a listening ear outside my circle of friends and family. I never felt like a burden speaking to her. She made me feel at ease and helped me understand my grief and heartache.

Christmases since then have still been hard. I still struggle with seeing lots of family and friends at our church and not having him there beside us. I still find myself thinking that not seeing him around the dinner table just isn’t right. I would give anything to have him back for one last Christmas. But I remember Kate talking to me about having out-loud conversations with Grandad and telling him things, like how I felt, or what was happening in my life. I’ve done this every Christmas since and I feel like it helps me quite a lot. It helps me feel closer to him and it helps me feel more in control of my emotions. 

To anyone else facing Christmas without a loved one, please don’t feel alone. Cruse Support have been wonderful, and I know if things ever got difficult again, I could pick up the phone and they would be there. Their support and guidance through the most difficult period of my life truly saved me. I will be forever grateful.

I completed my first ever half marathon in September 2022 and although the training was both mentally and physically difficult, I managed to raise £1,230 for Cruse Scotland in memory of my Grandad. Knowing that this money will support them in continuing to help others the way they helped me is really comforting. If you can donate this Christmas, please give what you can and ensure no one struggles alone with their grief.

Holly, Edinburgh.

Across Scotland, 300,000 children and adults face their first Christmas without a loved one. No one should struggle alone.

A donation of £20 could cover the costs of five calls to our Free Bereavement Helpline, keeping this vital lifeline free and accessible to those struggling to cope with their grief. No matter the amount you give, your support will make a big difference and offer hope this Christmas.

Find out more about the services we offer and the bereavement support that’s right for you.


How Christmas has forever changed now for Holly