Coping with the Holidays: Suggested Resources 2013

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A lovely thing about Christmas is that it's compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.  ~ Garrison Keillor

A reader writes: I just recently lost my mother after her two-year battle with breast cancer. I feel like a piece of me died right along with her. I was always close to my mother, and she was so close with my children. I don't know how to explain the hurt I feel inside. The weather is starting to change here by getting colder, which always brings the holidays - which brings me to the question: How do we deal with the empty chair at the holidays?
My mother always made a big deal out of the holidays, which I have practiced with my children. I am trying to carry on the traditions and also do the things she used to do, maybe trying to feel closer to her or at least make her proud of me. My mother was an amazing person and touched a lot of hearts. Everyone tells me I am a spitting image of her and I am just like her, and I hope so. I want to be just like my mother. I have my good days and my bad days.

My response: My dear friend, please accept my heartfelt condolences at the loss of your dear mother, and know that I am thinking of you at this sad and difficult time. I am struck by your poignant question, "How do we deal with the empty chair at the holidays?" When families are grappling with the death of someone dearly loved, this time of year can be especially challenging. It can seem as if all the world is preparing to celebrate "the most wonderful time of the year," and we can find barely enough energy to get out of bed in the morning, much less think about shopping, gifting, decorating, cooking, giving thanks and making merry. Fortunately, in addition to the special “coping with the holidays” programs offered by many community agencies this time of year, there are many wonderful online resources as well. Your question gives me an opportunity to remind readers of my Coping with the Holidays: Suggested Resources, and to highlight some of the offerings I've discovered this year as well:

Getting Through Halloween after Child’s Death, by Cathy Seehuetter

Thanksgiving Grief: Finding Gratitude When You’re Anything But Grateful, by Litsa Williams

Thanksgiving As Pain Medication, by Ron King

Celebration, Impacted. Caregiving and the Holidays, by Adrienne Gruberg

50 Tips for a Successful Thanksgiving and Holiday Season, Alzheimer's Reading Room

64 Tips for Coping With Grief at The Holidays, What's Your Grief?

Holidays and Bereavement: A Different Way to Cope, by Megan Devine

The Grief That Stole Christmas: Facing Holiday Fears, by Jennelle Dippel

8 Tips for a Great Holiday Season, Alzheimer's Reading Room

Hanging On Through the Holidays, by Beth Marshall

The Grieving Introvert: A Different Kind of Survival Guide, by Megan Devine

Ho, Ho, Hum--Coping with Holiday Cheer in the Face of Loss, by Sally Carey

Twelve Things to Remember about the Holidays and Grief, by Deb Kosmer

Not Always “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

Family Gatherings in Times of Grief, by Pat Schwiebert, RN

Bereavement During the Holidays, by Nan Zastrow

Holiday Expectations, by Bart Sumner

Bereavement and Holiday Traditions, by Radha Stern

New Holiday Traditions for Widowers by Gerald J. Schaefer

Preparing Grieving People for the Holidays, by William Hoy

For Those With Bereavement: Give the Gift of Healing Music, by Tony Falzano

A Dozen Bereavement Tips for Getting Through the Holidays, by Donna Miesbach

Activities to Use with Grieving Children, from the National Alliance for Grieving Children

Giving Thanks: An Activity for Grieving Children, from Kids' Grief Relief

Grief and the Holidays 1: 10 Personal Tips for Grievers, Video by James E. Miller

Grief and the Holidays 2: 7 Actions to Help You Through Those Days, Video by James E. Miller

Grief and the Holidays 3: A Word of Hope for Those Grieving During the Holidays, Video by James Miller

15 Things You Can Do to Help Grieving People During the Holidays, Video by James Miller

Lessons Learned: Help for Bereavement During the Holidays, by Sally Grablick

Surviving the Holiday Season In the Midst of Grief, by Karla Helbert

Good Grief: The Holiday Edition, by Katherine Ingram

Ten Tips to Help Someone Grieving During the Holidays, from National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO)

Holidays and Bereavement After the Loss of a Child, by Shelley Ramsey

Six Tips for Getting through the Holidays with Grief, by Sameet Kumar

Using Mindfulness to Cope with Grief and Loss During the Holidays, by Jennifer Johnson

The Upcoming Holidays and The Table for Five, by Catherine Tidd

Enjoying the Holidays … Differently, by Chris Mulligan

6 Tips for Setting Your Intentions and Staying Focused This Holiday Season, by Kala Ambrose

The 3 H's of Coping with Holiday Grief after Your Pet Has Died, by Laurel Lagoni

Holiday Hope Tips 2013, Video from Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation

To receive a daily dose of inspiration, understanding, and hope in your news feed throughout the holiday season, visit and "like" the Soaring Spirits Facebook page. 


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© by Marty Tousley, CNS-BC, FT, DCC

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