First and foremost, do whatever feels right to you. Listen to your heart and know your limits.
If you want to be alone, do it. Or attend an intimate affair with close friends and family who understand what you are going through. Be careful going to a large party or outing as the atmosphere of gaiety and revelry can be overwhelming to an ailing spirit. If you do go, take your own car so you can leave whenever you would like to.
Some other things you can do include:
The center has new support groups beginning this month, please contact us if you are interested in attending one.
Being around others facing similar feelings is very healing.
A new year typically offers one the opportunity to make changes for the future to make a fresh start and put the troubles of the past behind them. However, those who have lost a loved one during the year may be anticipating ringing in the New Year with both sadness and fear of moving ahead without their lost loved one. Both reactions are normal.
Holidays like New Year’s Day are significant as they are familiar indicators of time and reflections of memories past.
They contain warm glimpses of good times shared with friends and family. They remind us without question how our lives have changed.
While nothing is the same after losing a loved one, hope and healing can be attained by going through the grief process.
One does not just “recover”, instead you learn to accept your new reality and to incorporate their absence and memories into your life. You create a place for them inside of you.
Grief represents the completion of a close connection. It is a time of reflection, pain, anger, despair, confusion then re-adjustment, acceptance, giving, healing and finally hope. If you are facing profound sadness over the death of a loved one, make a New Year’s resolution to face the grief, work through the pain so that you can experience hope.
The Hope and Healing Place is here to assist you as your embark upon your healing journey. New bereavement support groups are starting in January, please follow the link below for more information.
Honoring Grief thoughts this morning are adapted from column of Bizia Greene in the Santa Fe New Mexican paper.
For individuals and families facing the first Christmas season following a death the traditions and rituals are upside down and what is missing this season are highlighted and felt deeply by everyone.
At the time we grieve so deeply of how our lives and family has changed forever, it can be meaningful to create new rituals and and traditions under this unwanted but present "new normal."
For family friends, peers, and friends living their lives as best they can with a loss during Christmas it is important to respect and not brush aside their down moments, be present with them as they share their stories and photos, and provide encouragement without forcing the merry, shopping, or crowded stores of the season.
For some being with others in a Christmas social can be healing. For others, this same event can only remind them of how life has changed, forever. There is no need to force what is not real this first Christmas....there will be another holiday season with new adjustments to loss and new expectations for gifting and sharing.
Honoring Grief On Christmas Eve is not an easy path.
So, give yourself permissions to do it different and give others the permissions to be different this year.
Stay present....Share your Christmas and family story.....Remember the calendar dates that come to the individuals or family throughout the year....Find ways of giving to others as a way of finding Gratitude and moving off of our own sorrow and sadness.
Honoring Grief on Christmas Eve takes courage, allowing others to help us, and understanding we can respect our traditions and at the same time develop new ways of celebrating as we continue to live out our "new normal."
Hope & Healing Place sends our best of best Christmas Eve thoughts to all readers of this blog and with all you share the thoughts of this blog with others.
Each Christmas season is unique in joy, stress, travel tiredness, or sadness from a death.
Of all the noise, music, and words of the season I offer Hope & Healing readers these words:
Forgiveness or lack of Forgiveness often blocks moving forward both in our grief & healing as well as daily living.
Sometimes this is about Forgiving ourselves....sometimes Forgiveness is about Forgiving family or peers....sometimes Forgiveness is about Forgiving the one who died ("leaving me with the kids, bills, and no answers).
2. Grace: Each week someone in our work, civic, or family lives either does or does not do something that "is just not right." Grace is about letting at least some of these daily challenges go...We do not have to challenge every interaction or person. Grace can also be about deciding to stop self blaming or to lighten those internal critical voices.
3. Others: In so many ways this is indeed "the ME generation of time."
I am suggesting "the OTHER generation" for this season. The joy, the positive energy, the sense of Hope truly comes from seeing and supporting the OTHERS we may know or not know. This is a guaranteed win-win for you any day, every day,
So...Find the Christmas season words important to you....share with others. We at Hope & Healing are with you all the way, in every way.
Michael Hainey's father died in a mystery when he was 6. Now age 45 Hainey has written a book about his search for answers and meaning about his father's death, 40 yrs later.
His search is similar to so many families and individuals who participate in our grief support groups. How difficult each death is for every parent, every child & teen.
When the death happens with no or limited known information finding meaning in the death and loss is even more difficult.
The death may be an accident, a suicide, or medical sudden death.
Sometimes the family will never know all the information or reasons around the death.. We have had families create wonderful ways for that person's life to have meaning even without knowing all of the information the individual or family wants to know.
Waking up each morning with a hole in the heart of missing that special person carries it's own pain.
That hole in the heart is even more of a fog when all the questions come without answers.
We hug the kids and families close. Over and over again we talk about making this grief journey with friends and support group peers. At each gathering we confirm the message "You are going to be OK."
Every death is unique to that child, teen, parent, and extended family.
Grief is a journey no one has asked for.
Grief is a journey not to be taken alone.
At Hope & Healing Place we face the challenges of loss and missing together, both today and for the tomorrow's to come.
When the rest of the world is occupied with holiday joy and festivities, those who have lost a loved one are facing a hole in the their hearts that often feels as it will consume them. We at The Hope and Healing Place certainly understand those feelings and would like to pass along a few tips that will help mourners get through these times.
OK, there are NO easy parts of grieving period.
With ongoing support, information, and staying connected there are parts of healthy grieving that become easier over time, but NEVER easy. Here are 5 Helps to healthy, restorative grief, leading to some sense of adjustment and healing.
-- Find a safe place such as Hope & Healing Place, your faith center, or a gathering of close friends.
-- Show Up: At Hope & Healing we understand how hard it is to park, come in the door, and set together with others who "get it."
-- Share your loss and missing as well as listen with compassion as others share their story as well
-- Explore: There are excellent books, Google search, and articles for children, teens, parents,and extended family
-- Learn & Experience With Others: Grief is not to be faced alone. Hope & Healing has support groups for the diverse deaths and family types that represent us all.
NO easy parts of grief, today or tomorrow.
There are proven ways that can be helpful, with support, over the time that is right for each family, peer, or friend.
You are not alone in your grief journey. Hope & Healing Place believes the the power of healthy grieving. Come join us or let us join you and your family. We continue together.
Wednesday was first calendar year recognizing the deadly shooting and murder of so many children & educators in Newtown, Conn.
Parents and families knew the media and memory build-up as this beyond difficult date approached their daily lives.
For Hope & Healing Place parents and families the same difficult calendar and many times media reposting of a death is true. The private deaths become forever public deaths for Sandy Hook and so many local HHP families as well.
Calendars never stop. Birthdays....Anniversaries....dates of a death or the days surrounding an anticipated death are never far away from the reliving, memories, and pain of a death.
I hope the missing of young lives in every family in Sandy Hook never leave our special thoughts and the sharing of the pain of these deaths as we continue to live our daily lives.
So important to tell our stories, remember our special family member, friend, or peer throughout even our busy days, months, and year.
Today, I remember our Sandy Hook parents and families.
I also "see" the faces and families of so many who have participated in grief support services at Hope & Healing Place. Neither Sandy Hook or these local families make this grief journey alone. We are present with them through every turn of the calendar, through every media reposting.
Blessings to all who read, take care of their families, and work each day in our schools, offices, and stores.
Sally and the kids are facing their first holiday season without the older brother Thomas, who died in an auto accident this summer.
What Sally understands is Christmas began for her and the kids in September.
While Sally had no interest in Halloween the two younger ones wanted to go look at masks and costumes.
So, Sally made it through the school Halloween carnival and walking the neighborhood.
Everyone was having so much fun Sally actually was glad the kids had their monster look and they faced Halloween together.
Thanksgiving was different....heavier....this time there was no mistake Thomas was not part of the planning, the football games. Sally did not have the energy to cook but there were plenty of prepared menus and "Thanksgiving take out" was OK in terms of food the younger brothers liked...and the Auburn win brought everyone off the couch!
Sally would have skipped it all, never gotten out of bed, avoided all the happy families on the endless holiday ads.
And now....after all that, there is Christmas.
The boys are caught between building expectations and the sadness of missing Thomas and his taking the brothers shopping and watching the games together, and all the growing up together opportunities that now will never happen.
Will this "season" of holidays never end? Why don't Sally's friends remember Thomas's death like she and the kids? Can I hold it together a few more weeks? Will the world look different January 1???
Halloween, Thanksgiving, and now Christmas...Sally can't do all this alone, nor does she have to. Hope & Healing Place has been and will be present with Sally and boys through all of the sadness, adjustments, and the ways Sally and the boys are family in new ways.
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