Coping With Grief During the Holidays

October 26, 2016

The holiday season is upon us. Seasonal decorations have been strategically placed in all of our favorite stores.  For many people, these colorful and festive adornments spark excitement for family celebrations and holiday parties yet to come.  But for those grieving the death of a loved one, the holidays may also usher in feelings of pain and sadness. Even if grief isn’t fresh, the holidays may serve as an annual reminder of the loss—not only of the person, but of shared traditions as well.

Hospice of the Foothills bereavement counselors understand how difficult this season can be. They support families coping with loss throughout the year. The death of a loved one is often felt most deeply during the holidays; our memories can be painful. There is no right way to get through these times. Our grief support counselors offer the following thoughts and ideas that may be helpful:

Be willing to change traditions – Holidays often center on certain traditions and rituals. For some, continuing some of those traditions without the presence of their loved one may be an important way to continue sharing their memory. For others, it may be more comforting to develop new rituals to help lessen the pain and immediacy of the loss.

Seek a sympathetic ear – If you feel you’re not able to function, find balance, or find any distance from the pain, seek help.  Find a grief support group where you’ll find instant empathy from people who have suffered similar losses. If you don’t care for groups, look for an individual counselor.

Try to reduce stress – While the holidays can be filled with meaning, they can also be filled with pressure and stress because of additional tasks such as shopping, baking and decorating. Grieving people should be encouraged to prioritize what needs to be done and focus on those projects that may bring them pleasure.

Remember those who have died –The holidays can bring opportunities to remember the person who has died in a way that is personally meaningful. Some families choose to participate in holiday events. Others may choose to share special family stories over a meal. Some may find that making a donation to a special charity or volunteering time to help others in need may be a comforting way to honor their loved one.

Hospice of the Foothills knows the importance of providing emotional and spiritual support to those who are grieving. Feelings of isolation and loneliness can be magnified, especially when the days shorten and holidays approach. Our bereavement program offers weekly support groups to community members, free of charge.  Please call to learn more about our support groups or for referrals to community resources.

November is National Hospice Month and a perfect time to learn more about the many local programs and services Hospice of the Foothills offers year round. Hospice of the Foothills has been your community hospice since 1979.  For more information call 530.272.5739.

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