by Cheryl Link, LSW, CT
Grieving the loss of a loved one throughout the year, especially during the holiday season and other specials days, can be challenging. Is it possible to mourn and celebrate at the same time? While it is difficult to cope with the pain of loss while others are celebrating, there are resources available to help you navigate the holidays while honoring your grief and the memory of the loved one who has died.
Holiday Services of Remembrance
These services, many offered by area funeral homes, long-term care facilities and veteran’s facilities, can offer inspiration and hope as you reflect and remember the life of your loved one. If you utilized services from one of these agencies for your loved one, contact the agency this holiday season to find out when these services will be held.
Family and Friends
Many times the people who care about us most want tangible ways to help us through our grief, but often they don’t know the best way to help. Make your loved ones aware of your needs and be specific in your requests for help. Accept assistance when it is offered to you. This could include help with holiday shopping, decorating, baking and cleaning.
Books and videos by those with first-hand experience of loss can also be valuable resources as you navigate your grief. There are countless resources available on the topic of grief. Below are a few helpful resources I recommend for grieving individuals. Many of these resources are available free of charge through the lending library at Hospice of the Red River Valley as well as available for purchase at local bookstores and online.
- “Surviving the Holidays without You, Navigating Grief During Special Seasons” by Gary Roe – Drawing upon his work as a hospice chaplain, Roe shares both personal and professional experiences in this concise resource. This grief survival toolkit addresses the expectations we feel from others, handling continual memories and reminders of loved ones and feeling lonely and misunderstood during the holidays.
- “Healing your Holiday Grief” by Alan Wolfelt – This easy-to-read resource offers 100 practical ideas for blending mourning and celebration during the holiday season. This compassionate guide helps you find your way as you both mourn and celebrate this holiday season.
- “How Will I Get Through the Holidays” by James Miller – Miller touches on 12 topics, including accepting the likelihood of your pain, planning ahead and doing for others during the holidays. This book also includes quotations offering validation of feelings and encouraging personal growth.
- “Passed and Present: Keeping Memories of Loves Ones Alive” by Allison Gilbert – The first “How-to” book for remembering loved ones, this resource offers 85 inspiring ways to celebrate family and friends you never want to forget. These inspirational ideas will be helpful not only during the holiday season, but also for celebrating our loved ones any time of the year.
- A Ray of Hope DVD with Paul Alexander – This is an excellent DVD featuring individuals have experienced loss during the holidays. As you listen to the advice of others who have experienced grief, you can use their experiences to helpful guide you through your own grief journey while others are celebrating holidays around you.
- Grieving Through the Holidays DVD by Willowgreen – This is a four-part video services that addresses many practical aspects of grieving, including 10 personal tips for grievers, seven action steps to help you through these days, a word of hope and 15 things you can do to help grieving people during the holidays.
Cheryl Link, LSW, CT, is a bereavement specialist with Hospice of the Red River Valley.
About Hospice of the Red River Valley
Hospice of the Red River Valley is an independent, not-for-profit hospice serving all, or portions of, 29 counties in North Dakota and Minnesota. Hospice care is intensive comfort care that alleviates pain and suffering, enhancing the quality of life for patients with life-limiting illnesses and their loved ones by addressing their medical, emotional, spiritual and grief needs. For more information, call toll free 800-237-4629, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.hrrv.org.