Monday, December 07, 2009

Grieving during the holidays

I know it's hard for some people to believe, but Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's do not bring out the same emotions in everyone. While many people see this as a most joyous time of year, many also grieve more now than during the rest of the year.

I had been thinking about having a "Service of Solitude" (or "Blue Christmas") this year. This is a service for those who are in mourning, or who want to remember lost loved ones during the holiday season. It allows a time to gather without having to put on a celebratory face; and also gives people a chance to recognize those they miss. I kind of like this idea, because contrary to what some people think, grief isn't something you can just "get over"... but it's something one has to "work through."

Unfortunately a Service of Solitude isn't going to work for us right now, so instead I will be recommending that people read this American Cancer Society article 'With The Holidays Can Come Renewed Grieving.' It gives insights about those who are grieving, and offers help for finding your way through the grief process. As they say...
Many people think of grief as a single instance or very short period of pain or sadness in reaction to a loss. However, the term grieving refers to the entire emotional process of coping with a loss. And at the holidays, grief over the loss of a family member or a friend can be especially pronounced.

I hope and pray we can empathize with those who struggle at this time of year. Just because they're grieving doesn't mean they want to be alone - or should be alone. They may need some space, but they also need to know that they are loved and cared for; and that their pain is real. So if the holidays are not necessarily happy for you, may they still be special. A special time of remembering, rethinking, and rekindling your hope that the One who came to save us can do so still.


Shell said...

Amen. And the grieving isn't necessarily for someone who has passed. For some the grieving is what could have been, maybe what should have been...or what should have NOT been.

It's hard for people to understand how the holidays aren't all fun and joyous for others. Well, they just can't really - they've no frame of reference.

I don't need people to understand - just don't tell me how I should feel and how I shouldn't feel.

dan horwedel said...

I agree Shell. With everything you said.

bkw said...

As a hospice chaplain I want to thank you for recognizing the extra care and attention those who are grieving need at the holidays. I love the last couple sentences of your blog, and I'm wondering if I can quote you at the holiday memorial service we're doing this weekend?
Peace to you.

dan horwedel said...

Absolutely. Feel free to use whatever you like.