Coping with grief during the holidays

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – The upcoming holiday season can be a hard time for those who have recently experienced the loss of a loved one. Here to give us some tips for coping with grief during the holidays and ways you can support families in need is Lisa VanderWel, Senior Administrator for Spectrum Health Hospice.

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November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, it’s also the start of the holiday season. VanderWel explains that grieving during the holidays can feel more intense than other times throughout the year, because memories of good times and togetherness at the holiday season serve to remind us of our loss. Watching others who are feeling thankful and are celebrating when we feel overwhelmed, lonely or sad can be very painful. Holidays force us to realize how much our lives have been changed by the loss of our loved one. Particularly in the first year, many bereaved are left with having to develop new holiday rituals and traditions.

Tips:

  1. Allow yourself to have emotions and anticipate grief bursts. It’s good to accept the rise and fall of your feelings without shame or self-judgment. Remember, it is okay to enjoy yourself. It’s also good to plan ahead, discuss holiday plans with family and friends and make decisions for the immediate holiday season only.
  2. Remember to remember. Create rituals or special ways to remember and celebrate your loved one during the holiday season like creating a memory book with special pictures and mementos of past holidays. You can also write out or record favorite memories of your loved one.
  3. Join a support group. Spectrum Health offers a special support group this time of year, called “Grief Never Takes a Holiday”. It is available in Grand Rapids and many of their regional locations. Dates and times can be found by clicking here and then click the link for Bereavement Services. Registration is required.

This is also the time of the year for giving. Even if you have not lost a loved one, you can still help those who have lost someone they loved or support someone through the grief process. How can someone support Spectrum Health Hospice and the services you offer for patients and families who in their time of need? Gifts can also be made to remember and celebrate anniversaries, holidays, birthdays and other events. Giving a gift in your loved one’s name is a heartfelt way to share in the joy of an important milestone. These gifts can provide access to hospice care, regardless of ability to pay, supply medication and equipment related to life-limiting illnesses and support patient quality of life and “last wishes” kinds of requests”.

Spectrum Health Hospice

Phone: 616.391.4250

For more information, please visit http://www.spectrumhealth.org/patient-care/hospice

To become a volunteer, please visit http://www.spectrumhealth.org/volunteer/hospice

To make a donation, please visit http://www.spectrumhealth.org/foundation