Hope for the Holidays
The holidays are stressful for most of us, even when we aren't grieving the death of someone we love. Added on top of the normal holiday stress, grief can make the holidays even more difficult. We hope that some of the resources here will help you through this holiday season.
Lara Moretti, Supervisor of Family Support Services shares insight on how the Holidays can be a very difficult time for families who have lost a loved one. http://www.donors1.org/second-chance-blog/2012/11/12/coping-during-the-holiday-season/
We have provided some additional grief articles that may be helpful during this time of year. Many families struggle especially with how to help the children in their lives understand the loss, grief and how it affects them during the holiday season.
General Grief Articles
Children, Grief and the Holidays
Many families struggle with how to help the children in their lives understand the loss, grieve and recognize the holiday season.
“Helping Your Child Deal with Death” is an article from Those Who Give & Grieve with ideas for rituals that can help children during the holidays. Most of these tips include family centered activities to help remember your loved one around the holidays. One of our favorites is their suggestions to, instead of signing your loved ones name on your holiday card, add a symbol that represents your loved one. Be it a butterfly, an angel, a bird, a star or sun, perhaps a flower, whichever symbols has a special meaning to you as a family. Some families purchase a special stamp and pad with the logo on it and use it often.
Bonnie Carroll’s article offers some additional ways to support children as they grieve during the holiday season: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bonnie-carroll/dealing-with-grief_b_2329544.html
New Traditions and Suggestions
The holidays will not be the same this year and it might feel strange trying to follow the same traditions this year. Your celebration of the holidays this year might include some new rituals and traditions. Here are some suggestions. It is important to realize that what you decide to do this year, is not what you have to do forever. It is just this one year and next year you can do something different.
Candle lighting Ritual for Holidays - 52.4KB
Rituals must be very personal and can be different for different members of the family. These articles lists some more ideas.
Preparation is key when it comes to coping with the holiday season. The more you can prepare and think ahead of time about the upcoming holidays, the easier it could be for you.
Take a few minutes and think about what traditions are meaningful to you and is it important to incorporate them this year. Sometimes we have traditions during the holidays that may or may not be ones we like to keep. Take this opportunity to evaluate what you feel you "have" to do and what you feel you can "stop" doing. Download our "Holiday Job List."
Trying to do accomplish all the items on your Holiday “to do list” on your own will completely bring your stress to another level. It can be helpful to also think about which people can be supportive of you and which situations might be difficult for you. Create your "Personal Holiday Plan".
It is expected that you will have moments during the holiday season when you are feeling sad and depressed. Thinking ahead about ways you can comfort yourself or be comforted by others can be helpful. Spend some time now considering "Things I Know Will Help Me When I'm Down".
Donor Family Newsletter Holiday Articles
The National Donor Family Council's quarterly newsletter, For Those Who Give and Grieve, has many good articles about coping with the holidays while grieving.
Of course, if you would like to speak to someone in Family Support Services, please call at 1-800-366-6771 or email us.
National Donor Sabbath, observed annually in November, seeks to educate faith-based communities about the need for organ, eye and tissue donors. Order free materials to celebrate National Donor Sabbath, taking place Nov. 13-15!