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!”

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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 parents, Holiday Stories

The Brittany Project

by Kim Maxwell
Brittany’s Mother

The Brittany Project was founded in loving memory of Officer Brittany Maxwell. She was dedicated to helping the less fortunate in the Communities where she patrolled. Those who truly knew Brittany’s heart would tell you she had a passion to lift others up, wanting them to experience the special things in life.

Continue reading “The Brittany Project”

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 parents, Holiday Stories

Holiday Memories of Brooke

by Jennifer Scalise

The holiday season is an emotionally challenging time for those of us struggling with the loss of a loved one. As a mother who has endured and survived the loss of her daughter I can relate to missing a loved one in the midst of the festivities and celebrations of the season— a time rich in family tradition typically spent with those you love.

In our household, the holidays always started early. Halloween typically marked the kickoff. From then on we excitedly decorated and prepared for Christmas. I loved the magical feeling and could not get enough of it! Holiday tunes played in our cars and throughout our home from the first of November all the way through to New Year’s Day— literally to the point those around me couldn’t tolerate it any longer. I went overboard both inside and out. I decorated the front of the house, the back of the house, and put up four Christmas trees; one that stood two stories tall and took days to decorate! Preparations began early because it literally took us weeks to finish all we needed to do. Continue reading “Holiday Memories of Brooke”

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’”