For this special episode of the Care Dimensions Learning Institute's podcast of Living Forever, Not an Option, our hosts Mary Crowe and Lyn Skarmeas wanted to do a special episode to discuss coping with the holidays after a loss. The holidays are often spent with family and loved ones, but those special occasions and gatherings can sometimes make it harder for those who are facing the loss of a loved one.
Our hosts discuss grieving during the holidays, key pieces of advice for navigating the holiday season for those who are grieving, and the different types of support that are available through Care Dimensions or your own resources.
Though this podcast episode is being released during the winter holidays, the advice is relevant for any special event or occasion specific to you and your loved one. Mary explains that holidays are a very demanding time and the expectations that come with the season often collide with the needs and energy involved with the grieving process. The media and community activities can send a message that the holidays are times to be joyful and merry, which may cause a grieving person to feel guilty when feeling sad about their loss and loved one’s conspicuous absence.
Both Mary and Lyn encourage those who are grieving during this time of year to allow themselves permission to feel the way they need to feel and to do only the things they feel up to doing. Waves of grief--although overwhelming--are natural, so it is important to accept the likelihood of the pain that you may experience during this time.
Care Dimensions offers support groups that can help, and additionally you may think about volunteer opportunities that will allow you to spend time with others. Mary and Lyn also emphasize the importance of being gentle with yourself during the holiday season, and to know when you need to take time for yourself. They hope that knowing that you are not alone during this journey is something that will provide you comfort.
Listen to the podcast (click here)
Learn more about our grief support programs at CareDimensions.org/grief or call 855-774-5100.
Watch our Timing is Everything television show focused on coping with the holidays (click here)
•Manning Doug, Thoughts for the Holidays: Finding Permission to Grieve, In-Sight Books, 2001.
•Miller, James E. How Will I Get Through the Holidays? Willowgreen Publishing, 1996.
•Miller, James E. Seasons of Grief and Healing: A Guide for Those Who Mourn, Augsburg Fortress, 2000.
•Smith Harold Ivan, A Decembered Grief: Living With Loss While Others are Celebrating, Beacon Hill Press, 1999.
•Wolfelt, Alan D. PhD. Healing Your Holiday Grief: 100 Practical Ideas for Blending Mourning and Celebration During the Holiday Season, Companion Press, 2005.
•Zonnebelt-Smeenge , Susan J. R.N., Ed.D and De Vries, Robert C. D. Min., Ph.D. The Empty Chair: Handling Grief on Holidays and Special Occasions, Baker Books, 2001
About the author:
Veronica Giarla is a marketing assistant working with the Care Dimensions Learning Institute.