Rushville Republican

December 7, 2011

Grieving a loved one during the holidays

Lisa Brownlee
Rushville Republican

RUSHVILLE — The holidays can be a particularly difficult time for anyone who has recently lost a close friend or family member. Whether this is the first holiday that you will celebrate without them or this time of year just brings back memories, finding healthy ways to grieve your loss while moving forward with your life are important.

Here are a few tips to consider as you grieve through this holiday season:

n Grief often comes in waves. You may have had several months pass since the death of your loved one, but as you uncover symbols of cherished memories you may find yourself confronted with grief again. Allow yourself some tears and sadness.

n It is also okay to be happy. DonÕt think that you must grieve and be sad through the holidays. Your loved one would likely want you to go on living a happy life even as you miss them.

n Create new traditions. You can light some candles as a reminder of your loved one on special occasions you would have celebrated together. Give a treasured item to another loved one who will appreciate the gesture and the memory during the holiday.

n Try a new activity or attend an event to help you establish some new ways to celebrate. This will help you build some new memories and cope with your loss.

n Let others know what you need. Friends and family may not know what to say or how to act in your presence. Let them know how they can best help you. Let them contribute food for an event, clean house or do yard work to help you through your time of grief. Or you can ask them to help you do these chores if having someone around gives you comfort as you tend to these tasks.

n Seek a support network. Many people find themselves coping with grief during the holidays. Churches, hospitals and other civic groups often provide space for grief support groups to meet. Knowing you are not alone can help make grief more bearable.

We are all going to face the prospect of grief at some point in our lives. Healthy grief is normal and natural, but if you or someone you know has experienced overpowering grief for more than a few months, it may be time to seek professional help. Centerstone has therapists trained in grief therapy as well as other mental health issues. For more information or initial appointments, call 800-344-8802.

Lisa Brownlee, MSW, LCSW is a clinic coordinator for Centerstone of Indiana and a licensed clinical addictions counselor in the state of Indiana. She may be reached at