My closest friend died in a car accident on Christmas Day

Agony Aunt's picture

Dear Patricia Marie,

I always hate this time of year – Christmas. My closest friend died in a car accident on Christmas Day five years ago, and every year I am reminded of her and how much I miss her. She was such a vibrant, happy person and she used to love Christmas. I visit her grave every year, put flowers there, and talk to her, and this year I have explained to my boyfriend of 9 months that I don’t ‘do’ Christmas, and why. He seems irritated by this, but has said he will visit the grave with me. He feels that I shut him out regarding my friend and wanted me to spend the day with his family and children, but I can’t do that. I have to honour my friend’s memory. Nobody seems to understand. How can I make them see that I feel it is wrong for me to celebrate this day?

Patricia Marie says...

Dealing with the death of a loved one can be an extremely difficult and traumatic experience, and the pain is significantly heightened at this time of year when others are wanting to celebrate the festivities. However, if you could plan Christmas to include remembering your best friend, the day may not seem quite so daunting. Take some comfort from lighting a candle in memory of her. Perhaps keep a photo nearby and tell others of the special times you shared. They will want to be included in your thoughts, rather than feel isolated. Sometimes we can feel no one understands because we don't open up - so do talk to your family and friends, as they care about you and will be conscious of your loss. I suspect your boyfriend is not so much irritated, but frustrated by your refusal to enjoy the nice times you deserve.

Be grateful for the time you had with your friend and focus on this rather than their absence in your future. Have you considered that she wouldn't be wanting you to be feeling so miserable, or not making the most of the life she can't have? So with this in mind, perhaps you could you try to compromise and enjoy the loved ones that are here with you today. If at anytime you do feel tearful, that's fine too. Don't be so hard on yourself, look to the future and believe things will get easier. I hope you may draw some comfort from the poem below. Also, for help and support over Christmas time, Cruse Bereavement Care, is just a phone call away. (0844 477 9400)


You can shed tears because she has gone,

Or you can smile because she lived,

You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back,

Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left.

Your heart can be empty because you can't see her,

Or you can be full of the love you shared,

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,

Or you can be happy tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember her and only that she is gone,

Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on,

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back,

Or you could do what she would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

By David Harkins