When someone has lost a loved one, holidays often magnify the feelings of grief;especially if this is the first holiday season since the loss. Memories of good times,togetherness and traditional gatherings often remind people of their loss. It can also be very painful for people who are grieving to watch others who are feeling thankful and are celebrating when sorrow makes participating in festivities overwhelming.
The first step in coping with grief at the holidays is to acknowledge that the season will be difficult and then to prepare for it in advance by making plans and obtaining support. For some, support groups can teach holiday coping skills and provide opportunities to share feelings with others who are also grieving. Merrimack Valley Hospice offers several loss specific bereavement groups during the holiday season as well as throughout the year. New support groups forming after the New Year include a men’s support group, a group for parents who have lost an adult child and a group specific to those who have lost a loved one due to substance abuse. All support groups are offered at convenient locations in and around the Merrimack Valley, are free of charge and open to the public.
If you, or someone you know, would like a list of upcoming support groups offered during this holiday season, please contact the Bereavement Department at Merrimack Valley Hospice at 978-552-4510. You can also find the list on our website at MerrimackValleyHospice.org.
Siobhan Mahoney, LICSW
Merrimack Valley Hospice