Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Coping with The Holidays: Suggested Resources 2019

[Updated December 7, 2019]

A reader writes: I found your site while trying to get help dealing with the death of my sister, my best friend. I am 56, she would have been 54 next month. A monster called cancer killed her slowly and painfully. It will be 2 months next week and I miss her more every day. I don't have a memory of my childhood or adult life that does not include her. I cry more now than when she died.
She was in so much pain the cancer had spread from breast to bone to lung to brain-- she lay in the hospital bed day after day having seizures until her brain died. I see her grasping for breath and it hurts so bad. She was the strongest person I have ever known. She fought for 10 years, thru it all she was so sure she was going to beat cancer. People tell me she is better off, she is not in pain, I know that, but I wanted the pain and cancer to go away and let her be whole and happy. I can't believe she won't be here for the holidays. Christmas without her is just unthinkable. I don't know what I want to accomplish by writing all this-- I want the pain to end or at least get easier. When she died I thanked God for ending her pain, that was all that mattered at that time. Now the reality is here and I can't get past it. Thank you for reading this and please remember me in your prayers. 

My response: Yes, your sister's pain and suffering have ended and you are grateful for that ~ but you're still here, and so is the pain and suffering of your grief and mourning! I am so very sorry for your loss, and for the sorrow it brings.

I think that as November comes, as the days get shorter and the holidays loom, everyone who is coping with loss looks forward to these days with dread and wonders how we'll ever find the strength to get through them. It may help to know that many helpful and informative articles have been written on this very topic, and as you will see at the base of this post, I've assembled a list of links to many of them.

I hope that whatever you plan to do for Christmas this year, you will think about and find a way to include your sister in your plans. Although she is no longer with you in the physical sense, she still exists in memory ~ and the relationship you have with her, the love you feel for her, certainly has not died. Because your loss is so recent, you may not have the energy to construct an elaborate ritual of remembrance ~ perhaps something as simple as lighting a Christmas candle in honor of your sister will do ~ but as a very wise lady once said, "If their song is to continue, then we must do the singing."

As I've done in years past, I will be searching throughout the season for helpful articles and current, reliable resources that I can recommend and share with my readers.

Below are links to those resources I’ve gathered so far this year, which I hope you will find informative and useful. Over the next several weeks I’ll be building upon this list each day, so I encourage you to check back often to see what’s been added.

Remember, too, that at this time of year, many hospices offer special community-based grief programs to guide participants in navigating the holidays while still honoring their loved ones. Contact your local hospice's bereavement services department to learn what may be available in your community.

As always, if you've found something especially helpful that isn't listed here, please feel free to add it in the Comments section below.

It’s Halloween: Trigger Treat, by Marita Anderson

Grief Recipe Stories: All Saints’ Day Feast, by Mandy Berrell

Contacting The Spirits, by Mark Liebenow

Your 3 Steps to Survive Thanksgiving Day Grief, by Lynne Houston

How Will I Make It Through The Holidays? Five Ways to Try, by Mary Joye

Being Present with Grief During the Holiday Season, with Dr. Terri Daniel is a FREE interactive, mini-workshop that was offered online on Sunday, November 17. It has been recorded, and a link to the recording will be posted in December.

Navigating the Holidays with Grief, by Laura Wade

Manage Grief with Grace this Holiday Season, by Michael French

7 Grief Strategies for the New Year – or for Anytime, by Brad Stetson, PhD

Mom’s Thanksgiving Stuffing, by Raquel Baetz

How to navigate the holidays (Surviving the Holidays) by Christine Baumgartner

#OptionBThere for The Holidays

Finding Joy in Holidays with Mary Joye - Open to Hope Podcast

Comforting the grieving while gathered for Thanksgiving

Coping with grief and loss during the holidays by Mitchell Rosen

Pet Loss and the Holidays: Four Things To Consider When Grieving During the Holidays (or any time!) by Teresa Wagner

Be Thankful. Or Don't. Be Wherever You Are by Kelley Lynn

5 Tips for Managing Grief During The Holidays (Instead of Repressing It) by Jacob Brown

Holiday Black and Blues by Mark Liebenow

How Can I Celebrate The Holidays When I Feel So Sad? by Barbara Karnes

Grief Tastes Like Raw Turkey by The Artful Caregiver

Finding Gratitude in Grief by Alan Pederson

Making A Place At the Table for Grief on Thanksgiving by Saeed Jones

Thanks-Grieving by Bryan Martin

Allow Some Room to Process Holiday Grief by Nicole Ball

A Widower's Christmas Wish List by Herb Knoll

Managing Family Holidays and Gatherings - 13 Tips by Tara Bates-Duford

19 Ways to Remember Loved Ones During The Holiday Season via What's Your Grief?

Simplify - Tips to Help Grievers Reduce Holiday Stress by Judy Brizendine

2019 Virtual Worldwide Candle Lighting - YouTube

How Do You Handle Christmas When Santa Just Died? - Interview with Hospice Bereavement Counselor Dee Unks

Your feedback is welcome! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question, or share a tip, a related article or a resource of your own in the Comments section below. If you’d like Grief Healing Blog updates delivered right to your inbox, you’re cordially invited to subscribe to our weekly Grief Healing Newsletter. Sign up here.

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