Help available for those grieving during holidaysPublished 10:22am Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Losing a loved one is never easy, but coping with loss during the holiday season can be especially difficult. Whether the loss was recent or many years ago, events like the holidays can bring back memories of loved ones, increasing loneliness.
There are some things that will help those that are grieving to help themselves.
“Remember that the anticipation is often more difficult than the actual holiday,” said Bonnie Wallin, the bereavement coordinator at Lakeland Hospice and Homecare. “Acknowledge that things will be different. It is helpful to plan ahead as this can give you more of a sense of control.”
Wallin suggests writing feelings and fears down, as this can help a person understand their emotions and feel less overwhelmed. Keeping things simple is another strategy. Traditions are important, but give yourself permission to pare down, change or eliminate things you think you can’t handle.
“Talk to your family and those close to you,” suggests Wallin. “Tell them what is important to you or what you don’t want.”
If a person wants to share their feelings with a professional, there are resources for that too. Bereavement services are provided by Lakeland Hospice to the caregivers for up to 13 months following the death of their loved one. Personal visits, grief education, and support groups are some of the services offered to help families cope with the loss they are experiencing.
“Even those whose loved one did not go through hospice can receive one to four visits through our bereavement services,” said Wallin. “There are also group meetings that anyone grieving the death of a loved one can attend.”
One hour group meetings are available monthly through Lakeland Hospice in Fergus Falls at 1:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday, and 5 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday, in Perham at 4 p.m. on the first Tuesday, in New York Mills at 5 p.m. on the second Tuesday and Elbow Lake at 4 p.m. on the third Tuesday. The groups are confidential and free of charge.
Part of healing is feeling the feelings.
“Avoid excess use of medications and alcohol, remember to eat well, get enough rest and exercise,” said Wallin. “The intensity of grief may be stronger during the holidays. This is normal- it is not a set-back.”
She adds that we will never forget a lost loved one, but hopefully over time the pain of grief will lessen.
For more information on grief counseling or group meetings, contact Lakeland Hospice at 998-1400 or go online to lbhomes.org