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Grieving this holiday season?


Last updated 12/22/2006 at Noon

When the rest of the world goes about the holiday season attending parties, gift shopping, decorating their homes and baking, it can make a grieving person feel even more isolated.

Facing the holiday season without your loved one often brings the emotions of grief – sadness, anger, guilt and fear – to a heightened level. This response is normal, and oftentimes, the grieving person does not give himself permission to experience such emotions.

It is often difficult to allow yourself to grieve. Many grieving people are told, “Stop crying, move on, focus on all the good things in your life,” et cetera. These comments are not helpful and can make you want to withdraw even more from those who are in your life this holiday season.

First, acknowledge that you have the right to grieve and mourn the loss of your loved one. Then, recognize that because your loss is personal in itself, your grieving process will be unique as well. There is no right way or wrong way to grieve, as long as you are not causing harm to yourself or others. There is no road map to navigate through one of the most difficult times in your life. However, there are some things you can do.

First, identify if you want others around during this time, or if you feel like you need some peace and quiet. Then communicate this realization to your family and friends. Explain to them what it is that you need to feel supported at this time. If talking with others is helpful to you, select a person or two in your life that you know you can be vulnerable to, without being judged and told what to do. Find an individual in your life who knows the art of listening. Some people prefer someone who is not a friend or family member and would rather meet with a professional grief counselor. Others prefer attending a bereavement support group where they meet other individuals who know what it is like to be on the path of grief.

Here are some suggestions of activities that you can do to remember and honor your loved one this holiday season. You can do these on your own or ask others to do these things with you. Talking with others, reflecting on your own or doing any of these suggested activities will undoubtedly bring tears and various feelings of grief. However, when you feel these emotions, know that you are making your way through the tunnel of grief. As a result, you will be further along in your journey and closer to the time when you experience a greater sense of peace.

Fallbrook Hospital Hospice hosts a weekly Bereavement Group available to the community every Tuesday from 3 to 4 p.m. at Silvergate Retirement Residence, 420 Elbrook Drive. For more information, call Bereavement Coordinator Stephanie Shaffer at (760) 728-1435.


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