Coping with grief over the holidaysPublished 9:59am Monday, November 25, 2013 Updated 12:02pm Monday, November 25, 2013
While many people associate the fall and winter holidays with joy and anticipation, when individuals have experienced personal loss, the holidays can also bring sadness.
Each person’s grief experiences are different. Whether the loss was recent or not, holidays can remind us of those we love, and those who have passed on.
There can be a real sense of emptiness and loneliness with missing loved ones, but there are a number of things that can be done to help make this time of year a little easier to get through.
First, we can acknowledge that there will be times of sadness and things will be different.
It’s helpful to plan ahead as this can give a person more sense of control.
By writing down feelings and fears a person can feel less overwhelmed.
Try to keep things simple. Traditions and rituals can be healing, but give the person permission to make changes and eliminate things that they feel they cannot handle.
It can be good to let others share in the planning and accept offers of assistance.
Know that there are good days and difficult days.
Be aware that you might have less energy than usual, and may not be up for being a part of some holiday activities.
Respond to people by saying that you’ll participate if you’re up for it.
Be gentle with yourself. Remember to eat well, get enough rest and exercise.
Reaching out to others or donating to a special charity in your loved one’s name can be a special way to honor them.
Don’t forget to count your blessings and talk about the good times and wonderful moments you shared.
Give yourself permission to laugh and remember the happy times.
If you’d like to talk about your loved one, bringing up your loved one’s name will let others know it’s okay to talk about him or her.
Attend an area grief education and support group. Lakeland Hospice sponsors Grief Support & Education for Adults in Fergus Falls:
The second Tuesday of each month from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
The fourth Tuesday of each month from 5 to 6 p.m.
Both meet at the LBHomes and Lakeland Hospice offices at 805 East Channing Ave. (formerly the Eisenhower School building).
These support groups are facilitated by a licensed social worker and are confidential, free of charge, and open to any adult in the community who has experienced the loss of a loved one through death.
Anyone can join at any time.
For a complete list of West Central Minnesota area support groups served by Lakeland Hospice go to HYPERLINK “http://www.LBHomes.org” www.LBHomes.org and click on Lakeland Hospice and look under Grief Support or call (218) 998-1400 for more information.
Mary Widiger is the marketing director for LBHomes in Fergus Falls.