The holidays after loss

Published 9:22 am Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Losing a loved one can make the holidays an especially difficult time of year. During a time in which parties, stores and even TV commercials relay the message that the holidays are a time of joy or to spend time with loved ones, it can be painful to know that you will not be able to see someone you love this time of year.

Grief can be complex. It can be difficult to know how you might feel over the holidays. Understanding that things might be different than they were and to treat yourself gently and without judgment can make a lot of difference during a painful time.

The Rev. Amanda Hayes-Bowman, chaplain and bereavement coordinator for New Century Hospice at 201 N. Main St. in Farmville, noted that the holidays can be difficult while grieving and offered the suggestions to scale back on the festivities, ask for help and even volunteer, if needed.

“Allow yourself to let go of some of the expectations you may feel and communicate your needs to those around you. If you don’t feel like decorating, baking or shopping, it is okay to scale back. It is okay to accept help offered by others or to ask for what you need,” Hayes-Bowman said.

After my grandmother’s death in 2014 after caring for her with my family, stress and anxiety were prevailing emotions. It was difficult to feel up to the responsibilities of buying gifts and visiting family members when her loss was so fresh in our minds. Knowing that we were not obligated to Christmas traditions made a difference when we needed an evening to stay in bed or do something different during the holidays.

If you need help during the holiday season, call New Century Hospice’s office at (434) 395-1042 or Centra Home Health and Hospice at (434) 200- 6546 for bereavement resources.

Emily Hollingsworth is a staff reporter for The Charlotte Gazette. Her email address is Emily.Hollingsworth@