Hope Through the Holidays Workshop on November 17

| By Jodi Horton

The members of the Bereavement Department at Casa de la Luz Hospice invite you to attend a free Hope Through the Holidays Workshop on Thursday, November 17, from 2:00 to 3:30 pm. Through ritual and discussion, we will explore ways of coping during this especially stressful time of year. Refreshments will be served after the session. 

In preparation for the workshop, I invite you to consider these thoughts from Tanya Lord, Ph.D., MPH:

It is okay to change everything; It is okay to change nothing . . . Breathe

It is okay to say “no;” It is okay to say “yes”. . . Breathe

It is okay to shop; It is okay to not . . .Breathe

It is okay to celebrate; It is okay to hide . . . Breathe

It is okay to remember; It is okay to honor . . . Breathe

It is okay to hurt; It is okay to laugh . . . Breathe

It will be okay

Just Breathe

The holidays can come with so many expectations and traditions. Even before we experience the death of a loved one, we may find ourselves stressed and exhausted by what others, or we ourselves, believe should be happening around this time of year.

Then, a loved one dies and the stress becomes even greater. Author Paul Irion says, “[W]hen you are grieving, holidays are bittersweet. Anticipation is chilled with dread. Excitement is dampened by listlessness.” (And sometimes the anticipation of the holiday or special occasion is more difficult than the occasion itself.) Our mind feels weighed down with questions and decisions to make:

  • Should I plan or attend that Big Family Dinner just as we always did?
  • Can I say “no” to the office party?
  • Should I decorate my home or not?
  • What if I don’t feel up to buying gifts for family and friends this year?
  • Do I have to send out holiday cards as we always did?
  • Would it be wrong to add my husband’s name to the holiday card since he’s been gone for six months now?
  • Would it be okay if I just left town and went away during the holidays?
  • What if everyone just pretends that nothing has changed, that things are just like before?
  • Would it be okay to set a place for her at the Thanksgiving table?
  • How do I answer when people at work ask how I am celebrating the holidays?

The questions are endless, and honestly, like the grief process itself, each bereaved person will have different ways of moving through these holidays or traditional occasions. Like Tanya Lord, I believe that no matter what you decide, the best answer will need to be what you believe will work best for you. And, especially if this is your first holiday season without your loved one, that “best way” may very well be by trial and error. You may decide to “change everything” or you may decide to “change nothing” or any combination in between. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to navigate the holidays. There is only your way.

Whether or not your loved one died on our service, you are welcome to join us. Please pre-register, however, by calling Sally or Carol in the Bereavement Department at 520-544-9890.

And remember to Breathe!

All the best,

Carol

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