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Grief support available during holidays

The holiday season can be a very difficult time of year after having a loved one pass away. Everyone's grief experiences are different. For many months after the loss, it is a year of "firsts" without him or her and can be especially difficult if the loss was recent.

But even if it has been many years, loved ones can be especially missed at special times of year. The holidays bring back many memories, and there can be a real sense of emptiness and loneliness with missing loved ones.

There are some things that can be done to help you get through the season. Remember that anticipation is often worse than the actual events. First, you need to acknowledge that there will be times of sadness and that things will be different. But it is helpful to plan ahead, as this can give you more of a sense of control.

It is a good idea to write down your feelings and fears, as this can help give you understanding and feel less emotional and overwhelmed. Try to keep things simple. Tradition and rituals are healing, but give yourself permission to make changes and eliminate things that you feel you cannot handle.

It is good to let others share in the planning and accept offers of assistance. If you receive offers of attending celebrations and are uncertain, it can relieve pressure by telling the person that you still have bad days and will attend if you are up to it.

Take good care of yourself. Remember to eat well, get enough rest and exercise. Avoid excess use of medications and alcohol, as part of healing is allowing yourself to feel your feelings. Reaching out to others and donating to a special charity in your loved one's name can be a rewarding way to honor them.

Don't forget to count your blessings and talk about the good times and wonderful moments you shared with your loved one. Give yourself permission to laugh and remember the happy times.

All adults who have lost someone to death are invited to attend our area grief support and education groups. Their loved one who passed away did not have to be on hospice. Our groups are confidential, free of charge and there is no need to pre-register.

For bereavement support or questions, please contact Lakeland Hospice at 218-998-1422.

Mary Widiger

Marketing Director for LB Homes in Fergus Falls