Grief takes no holiday

Grief takes no holiday


The holidays are often a difficult time for people who have lost a loved one. Some people who are grieving find it reassuring to participate in holiday activities as usual. Others may find it too painful to do so. Building on tradition or starting new traditions, volunteering and allowing time to adjust are just a few ways to make it through the holiday season. Members of the Rockford Health System offer tips on how to help loved ones through this tough time.

Chaplain Pat McCarthy at Rockford Memorial Hospital said: “One of the most important things to say to people is that they need to be practical and realistic. It’s OK to say no. They need to decide during this difficult time what’s important to them during the holiday season. Realize your own limitations … because grief is very hard on our bodies, and we need to take care of ourselves physically.”

But there is a spiritual aspect as well, she adds. “The other thing is to focus on the spiritual dimension because this is the season of hope and yearning, and perhaps the hope is that someday we will be reunited with the person we love. Another idea might be that because it’s the season of light, to light a special candle in honor of your loved one and do it at a family gathering. Hanukkah is past, but the Christmas season goes on. It is a season of light—a time to remember and recall all the gifts this person gave you.”

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