The most wonderful time of the year can be one of the most difficult times for those who have lost a loved one.
Mary Noel Owens with the group GriefShare says losing a loved one is especially difficult the first year.
“You have the first birthday, the first anniversary, the first everything, but it seems like, when you get to the holidays, to Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s particularly hard,” Owens says. “The TV and the radio and the media and the shopping and everybody’s talking about families and getting together and buying gifts and there you are, you have this big hole in your heart and your family... so it’s very difficult at the holiday season.”
GriefShare is a nondenominational 13-week program, but a special ‘Surviving the Holidays’ event is also held and is open to anyone.
“Anyone that’s lost a loved one, it doesn’t have to be a spouse… anyone that you have lost that you are grieving over and you need help, coping skills to get through these holidays, we are happy to have you come," Owens says.
Debbie Lyons with Grief Share says part of getting through the holidays after the loss of a loved one is to be open and honest with your friends and family throughout the holidays.
“This is how I feel, it’s okay to talk about my spouse, my mother, my father, whoever the loss was and it’s okay because then that way you are honoring them and you’re remembering that they were here,” Lyon says. “Then you have to ask for help too, like, if you’re expected every year to bring a big part of the meal or something and you just don’t feel like it because it just isn’t the same, don’t be afraid to let them know that. Then, still expect the grief outbursts to come, but if they know what’s going on and it’s okay to talk about your loved one, it helps.”
Owens says the event Thursday will feature a video, a book to take home, discussion, a candle ceremony and more.
GriefShare’s ‘Surviving the Holidays’ event will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday at Brookdale Presbyterian Church at 31st and Edmond in St. Joseph. For more information, call (816) 279-0983.