Holidays can be especially difficult after a loved one has died. Whether the loss is recent or long ago, holidays may not feel like “the most wonderful time of the year” when you are grieving.
Sometimes people think that ignoring their sadness is the best way to cope. But in most cases, remembering your loved one and connecting with what you’ve lost is healthier.
“It’s important to accept all of our feelings,” said Jenny Casey, MSW, a social worker with years of experience working in grief and bereavement and a facilitator at the Healing Hearts Center for Grieving Children & Families. “We need to keep our hearts open, to feel what we are feeling—that’s how we move on.”
Casey recommended thinking about what would really benefit you. “Your life has changed, and sometimes traditions have to change,” she said. “Check in with yourself. Do you want a quieter holiday? Or do you have the energy to carry on your old traditions?”
Finding a way to commemorate the loved one who died often is helpful. “Maybe you can create a new ritual as simple as lighting a candle, or writing a letter,” Casey said. Taking care of yourself during this time of stress and overindulgence is important. “Be mindful of what you’re eating and drinking,” she said.
A workshop on Grief During the Holidays will be held on two different dates, one in Southbury and one in Danbury, by the Healing Hearts Center, a program of Regional Hospice and Home Care of Western CT. The workshop will be held in Southbury on Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 3:30 to 5:00 p.m., at the Federation of Jewish Communities of Western CT. In Danbury the workshop will be held on Wednesday, December 5 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Healing Hearts Center. Registration is required in advance.
To register for the workshop in Southbury, please call Debbie Horowitz at the Federation of Jewish Communities of Western CT at (203) 267-3177. For more information or to register for the upcoming workshop in Danbury, please call Healing Hearts at (203) 792-4422.