There is help available for coping with holidays

When the family circle is broken by death, the holidays take on a whole new meaning.

To the Editor,

At Nanaimo Hospice, we realize that the holidays can be a joyous time for family and friends, but if you have lost someone you may dread seeing it approach. When the family circle is broken by death, the holidays take on a whole new meaning. And remember, grief doesn’t have to be fresh to be painful at this time of the year. Here are some suggestions that may help to make things a little easier:

Acknowledge that this year will be different. Holidays often magnify feelings of loss. Be gentle with yourself and don’t expect too much. If you cry, don’t let that ruin the day for you. It may give others permission to grieve as well, and feel sad, even on a ‘happy’ day.

There is no right or wrong way to handle the day. Some people prefer to follow cherished family traditions, while others decide to change them. Remember, what you choose to do this time can always be changed again next year.

Embrace your treasure of memories. They are one of the best legacies your loved one leaves behind. Instead of ignoring memories, share them.

Do something symbolic. Think about including rituals that can symbolize the memory of your loved one. You might light a candle or hang a special Christmas ornament.

For more on coping with the holidays, please visit www.nanaimohospice.com.

Karyn Frenchexecutive directorNanaimo Community Hospice Society