Big Bend Hospice offers grief support during holidays
- By: Guest Post
The holidays are a time of joy but can cause worry, sadness and confusion for individuals experiencing grief.
Feelings of sorrow and loss can seem out of place amidst the cheer of the holidays. Even if the loss was in the distant past, this time of year can trigger a sense of longing for our loved ones.
If you are grieving, you are not alone. Big Bend Hospice is dedicated to supporting people experiencing grief. Thanks to generous community support, we provide bereavement services to anyone in our eight-county service area, regardless of whether your loved one was in Big Bend Hospice’s care.
We also offer these suggestions for coping with grief during the holidays:
Think about holiday tasks and set realistic expectations. Consider, for example, whether you feel like shopping. If not, plan to shop online, ask a friend for help or communicate that you’re not up for the stress of shopping this year. Also think about how you’d like to spend the holidays. Would you prefer quiet time or being surrounded by friends and family? Answering these questions now may ease stress and anxiety.
Practice the 'Three Cs'
Kenneth Doka, grief expert with the Hospice Foundation of America, recommends the Three Cs:
Choose: Stay flexible and ask others to do the same. It is OK to decline invitations, make changes to traditions or take a trip instead of staying home. Avoiding celebrations will not stop your grief, but you have options. Do what feels right and don’t push past your limits.
Communicate: Family and friends may want to help, but without information from you, they may make presumptions that do more harm than good. As difficult as it can be to talk about grief, telling others how you feel and what you need can be healing.
Compromise: Grief is a unique experience for each individual. Keep in mind that your friends and family members might have needs different from your own. Maintain open dialogue and be willing to compromise.
Create a new tradition
Give yourself permission to experience positive emotions. For example, you might feel gratitude for the bond you shared with your loved one and want to do something that honors him or her. Ideas include making a special toast, lighting a candle, planting a tree, putting up special decorations, donating to a charity or volunteering.
Ask for help
Keeping your emotions inside doesn’t help. It’s OK to tell people that it’s a difficult time for you. Ask for support or attend grief counseling. These opportunities can be arranged through your church, with a counselor or though Big Bend Hospice.
Our Bereavement Services Department offers counseling, as well as services to remember your loved one and other special events during the holidays. For a list of these events, please visit the calendar at bigbendhospice.org.
You are not alone; we stand ready to help.
Caitlin Burns, LCSW, is the Bereavement Services Manager at Big Bend Hospice. Contact her at 850-671-6074 or email@example.com
Holiday Grief Support
Wakulla and Franklin County Service of Remembrance: 4 to 5 p.m., Dec. 2 at Bevis Funeral Home, 3106 Crawfordville Highway, Crawfordville. For more information, contact Ed Lyon at 850-556-7029.
Leon County Hope for the Holidays: 6 to 8 p.m., Dec. 3 in the Jean McCully Family House Great Room, Big Bend Hospice, 1723 Mahan Center Blvd., Tallahassee. Registration is requested. Contact Caitlin Burns at 850-671-6074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jefferson County Service of Remembrance: 6 to 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at First United Methodist Church, 325 W. Walnut St., Monticello. Contact Andrew Creel at 850-566-2731.
Madison County Service of Remembrance: 6 to 7 p.m., Dec. 6 at Fellowship Baptist Church, 1997 NE Colin Kelly Highway, Madison. For more information, contact Glenn Hodges at 850-556-2003.
Gadsden Hope for the Holidays: 4:30 to 6 p.m., Dec. 11 at Big Bend Hospice, 216 North Adams St., Quincy. Registration is requested. Contact Pam Mason at 850-671-6079 or email@example.com.
Family Hope for the Holidays (for families with children and teens): 6 to 8 p.m., Dec. 11 at Big Bend Hospice’s Bartelt Center, 1723 Mahan Center Blvd., Tallahassee. Registration is requested. Contact Monica Ellis at 850-671-6077 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Suicide Loss Support for the Holidays: 6 to 7:30 p.m., Dec. 18 in the Jean McCully Family House Great Room, Big Bend Hospice, 1723 Mahan Center Blvd., Tallahassee. Registration is required. Contact Caitlin Burns at 850-671-6074 or email@example.com.