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Grief Expert Heidi Dunstan Is Inviting Grief To the Holiday Table This Season

Expert Heidi Dunstan is changing the narrative of grief this holiday season and invites grievers and grief supporters to welcome grief in holiday traditions.



CALGARY, AB, CANADA, December 19, 2021 / — This year marks the second holiday season that Covid-19 is a preeminent force in the lives of our global community. The death toll stands at 5,363,860, leaving a large cross-section of individuals deep in the throes of grief. Grief Educator and advocate, Heidi Dunstan, is leading the initiative to reach those who are in mourning and give them the tools to navigate the holidays with grace.

“Grief is as individual as your fingerprint, so it is important that the griever knows that they are not alone and can have their pain witnessed.”

heidi dunstan

“It is important that we reach the populations that do not know how to articulate their grief to those around them.” Dunstan states, “Grief is as individual as your fingerprint, so it is important that the griever knows that they are not alone and can have their pain witnessed.”

Holidays have the power to jar us into the reality that our holiday traditions will never look the same. Dunstan adds, “Often we are gripped with the thought that we have to show up and be the same person we were before our loved ones passed which can increase stress, anxiety, and depression, leaving the griever to wish that the holidays were over.”

Dunstan believes that grief is love and that love should never be done in isolation, and yet many are forced to as their friends and family have no idea what to say and not say to someone who is hurting. She recognizes that we live in a pain adverse culture, and believes that many want to support their friend or loved one, and want to learn how to do that.

Becoming a widow at the age of 39, Dunstan understands the overwhelm that grief can play as we enter the holidays. Dunstan’s husband passed unexpectedly days after Christmas and left her reeling in sorrow and confusion. “Losing your person during the holiday season is particularly difficult as it is a marker of this tragedy. Taking the time to honor and acknowledge that Christmas may not be Merry for everyone can help to allow someone’s grief to be witnessed at a time when many grievers feel like they don’t fit.”

In her masterclass, Lean Into Grief Through the Holidays, Dunstan teaches that it is important to prepare in advance by making specific plans to obtain support that you may need. Dunstan also suggests honoring your loved one in a creative way, to find a way to honor old traditions and memories while making space to create new ones. She will also provide strategies for those who know someone who is grieving to invite them and their grief into the festivities.

The most important thing to understand about grieving through the holidays is to give yourself grace. Give yourself the grace to grieve the way you need to grieve. And it is important to find a healthy community that can support you through challenging times. Dunstan is offering a free masterclass on grieving through the holidays Tuesday, December 21st at 7pm CST live on zoom. JOIN HERE

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