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Grief During the Holidays

You are Not Alone if you Feel Grief During the Holidays

Twenty one years ago I received one of the worst phone calls one could get. My brother’s voice was trembling as he said, “Jackie we’re at the hospital and I’m sorry, but Mawelita just died”. Mawelita was a name I created for my grandmother when I was a little girl. As I listened to his words I felt time stop. An overwhelming sensation of emptiness flooded my body. A feeling of despair. This was the emotion of grief.

Why am I writing about grief and mourning instead of choosing a happier subject for the merry month of December? Because the holidays are when we miss our loved ones the most. We try to feel their energetic, spiritual presence, but their physical presence is what we want.  So many of us experience grief during the holidays.

Why Does Grief Resurface During Our Lives?

If the emotion of grief and the process of mourning is not felt it may cause physical, emotional, and spiritual pain in the years to come. The connection between emotions and pain is real. I see it in my physical therapy practice over and over and it presents as headaches, neck pain, back pain, and most commonly in abdominal and chest pain.

My Grandmother’s Words on Grief and Mourning.

After the shock of my grandmother’s passing, I knew how to grieve because my grandmother taught me.  I remembered her words. She told me when I was a teenager how much she loved the United States, but that she was sad how disconnected we are from death. I didn’t understand what she meant. She explained that in Colombia you spent three days grieving which meant outwardly showing your emotions such as crying or screaming.

Family and friends brought food and sat with you. Everyone attended the funeral. My grandmother was surprised how, in the U.S., many people hardly even attend funerals.

She then explained that grief slowly turned into the process of mourning for forty days which she said was called Luto. Family and friends still stood by bringing food and comfort. Luto continued for a full year, continuing the mourning process. During that year the birthdays and holidays were the hardest. After a year, the date of death was remembered with a memorial Mass and the gathering of family and friends.

Grief and Mourning can be Healing

I share this personal story with you because feeling and experiencing grief and mourning is deeply healing. Ignoring these deep and profound emotions will not allow us to enter this sacred time and experience the divine. When we are with a person who is dying it’s a holy time. A time of transition that we will all experience one day.  

Metaphysically we hold grief in our lungs, so I have created a self treatment video. Please subscribe to my E-Newsletter so you can watch the myofascial chest self treatment release. If you’d like to learn how Myofascial Physical Therapy can help you release stored emotions, please contact me.

I highly recommend group grief counseling. May you care for yourself and love yourself during your healing journey of grief and mourning.

May you also feel the peace of these Holy Days of December and allow those who have passed on to guide you through your grief and mourning to enter peace.

With love and health,


This blog has been written with love. If it has been of value to you, please share it with all your friends. I am grateful for new subscribers. ❤️

Jackie Castro-Cooper, MPT

I hold a Masters in Physical Therapy and specialize in John F. Barnes' Myofascial Release. My passion is helping patients discover their own path to healing through integrative and holistic therapies.