bereaved adults, Holiday Stories

Give Thanks!

by Chris Christopherson

Arlyne and Chris Christopherson

While Corrie Ten Boom was living in a German concentration camp, her entire body became infested with lice, making a bad situation worse. She was complaining about it one day, and her sister reminded her of the Bible verse that says “In everything give thanks,” and she challenged Corrie to give thanks for the lice. Corrie’s response was “How can I give thanks to God for lice?” But she made a choice to offer thanks for the lice anyway. Later, she found out that the lice had actually protected her from the assaults of the German soldiers. Continue reading “Give Thanks!”

bereaved adults, Holiday Stories

5 Ideas to Ease Holiday Anxiety During Grief

by Judy Brizendine

Holidays, which we usually greet with happiness and excitement, carry the potential to create misery and anxiety in the heart of anyone who is grieving. Occasions we normally welcome turn into times that we dread. Whether we feel guilty about participating in any kind of celebration, or we’re so heartbroken that our sorrow overtakes everything else, the holidays sometimes feel like more than we can handle. Here are a few ideas to ease holiday anxiety during grief:

1. Make simple plans before the last minute. Whatever you do, don’t let your holiday plans just fall wherever they may. You probably aren’t eager to make any kind of plans—but think of something simple you’d enjoy doing. Grief has changed everything this year, and maybe it will be easier for you if you move away from your traditional plans and try something new. Celebrating in your usual way, but without your loved one, may be too much to handle. Consider a change. But don’t put off making some kind of plans. Continue reading “5 Ideas to Ease Holiday Anxiety During Grief”

bereaved adults, Holiday Stories

A 1… 2… 3… Approach to the Holiday Glow for Bereaved

by Elle Fagan

Grieving? Almost all forms of winter holidays share a message of Life and Light in the midst of dormancy and dark. Focus on that message. That’s YOU this year. And yet, you can find the glow, anyway, almost as easy as 1, 2, 3:

Confront and win – with yourself Think about and understand your own status: where are you on the path to healing? What might work this year to make a holiday? If you are medicated, do not mix with holiday alcohol. Non-alcoholic is just as tasty and safer. Search, online and off, and ask your doctor for his advice.Like a Santa’s bag for health and happiness; knowledge is power. I learned from my own grief recovery, and later counseling, it comes down to the simple message: “Hang in, it gets better – It DOES get better.” Do a few things to help it get better. Know that this year, the very things that use to delight may be acutely painful, without some attention. Continue reading “A 1… 2… 3… Approach to the Holiday Glow for Bereaved”

bereaved adults, Holiday Stories

Illuminate Eight Nights with 8 Big Ideas

by Nancy Gershman

For eight nights in a row this year, Jews will light up for Hanukkah*. Not just literally with the traditional tool kit of 9-branched menorah, candles and lighter – but metaphorically speaking. We will light up our hearts to make room for love, for joy, and for gratitude in the best of all possible worlds: a pitch black space.

*Known as the Festival of Lights, (or facetiously as Christmas without Christ, Santa or tree) Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days to “publicize” the miracle of the one-day supply of oil that miraculously lasted eight days during this revolt. Continue reading “Illuminate Eight Nights with 8 Big Ideas”

bereaved adults, Holiday Stories

Surviving the Holidays

by Peggy Sweeney

I wish you could have known my dad. He was a great man; kind, gentle, compassionate, loving. He taught me to enjoy all the good things in life and to believe in the magic of Christmas and the wonders of Santa Clause. I guess that’s why I am one of the oldest kids who still believes that Santa travels on a sleigh and brings presents.

Growing up on the south side of Chicago, Christmas was always the best time of the year! Daddy would take my little brother, sister, and me to pick out the traditional Christmas tree. Every year the tree seemed bigger and better than ever before. We would return home boasting of our find and mom would stand at the front door shaking her head and stating—with a grin—that we would never get that tree through the door. She would, no doubt, be vacuuming pine needles until at least April or May.

Continue reading “Surviving the Holidays”

bereaved adults, Holiday Stories

Surviving the Holiday ‘Cheer’

by Annell Decker, LPC

Annell Decker

Facing the holiday season can be daunting enough on its own. If you are dealing with the additional stress of grief, it may seem almost impossible. You may be experiencing grief due to the death of a loved one or a close friend. Grief is also a natural process with the loss of a beloved pet. As humans, we also go through a period of grief over a divorce, loss or change of job, moving or a big change in your life such as becoming sober. All of these circumstances are stressful, even if you are emotionally, physically, or otherwise stable. The necessary grief work is added to normal life.

So, how to handle all of this stress during the holiday season? Continue reading “Surviving the Holiday ‘Cheer’”

bereaved adults, Holiday Stories

The First Holidays After a Loss

by Elle Fagan

All over the world, celebrations fill our hearts with delight in life, with new lights and powers for the times ahead as we commemorate times past. All of it is endangered when we are grieving. But the holidays can be a fine opportunity to heal and create happy beginnings to the new paths in the life ahead.

My husband passed suddenly and too young in late summer, and the family times, formerly so rich with love and laughter, were now painful. Son, Peter, was thirteen and his Sister, Amy, was eleven. Continue reading “The First Holidays After a Loss”