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#DolphinsLiveWell: Managing Loss During the Holidays

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Many students in the Le Moyne community have lost loved ones this year, including friends, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and for some of you, even siblings and parents. The holidays can be difficult, especially if these are the first ones you are experiencing without your loved one. Feelings of grief may become more pronounced at this time, even if the pain of loss has receded. You need to understand that this is a normal part of the grieving process.  

Grief comes in waves and may be at low levels to allow you to get on with living your life, but then something will come along and trigger very real and intense emotions. Again, these are all normal parts of the process and you need to experience them in order to work through the stages of grief in a healthy and intentional manner. Below is an excerpt from Bereavement & Loss Resources (November/December 1993), that might help you through whichever holidays you celebrate. Hopefully, you will find some of these suggestions helpful. You can also find resources and support in general at Campus Ministry and the Wellness Center.

Surviving the Holidays––Thoughts on Coping….

There is no right or wrong way to handle the day. Some may wish to follow family traditions, while others may choose to change. Focus your celebrations on winter: go to a mountain lodge; go sledding or skiing, or just take a walk in the woods––time out to enjoy what nature has to offer in this season. Include the deceased in your conversations and celebrations. Hang a stocking for your loved one in which people can put notes with their thoughts or feelings. Look at photographs. Once others realize that you are comfortable talking about your loved one, they can relate stories that will add to your pleasant memories. Keep in mind the feelings of your children or family members. Try to make the holiday season as joyous as possible for them. Plan to be with the people you enjoy. Do something for others: volunteer at a soup kitchen; visit the lonely and shut-ins; ask someone who is alone to share the day with your family; provide help for a needy family; volunteer at the airport to pour coffee for stranded travelers; or offer to volunteer in a hospital on the holiday; if your city has a Ronald McDonald House, see if you can help make their holiday happier. Don’t be afraid to express your feelings. Allow people to comfort you. They need to feel they are helping in some way.

Remember, anticipation of any holiday is so much worse than the actual holiday. Donate a gift or money in your loved one’s name. Try to get enough rest.

*Rivendell Resources grants anyone the right to reprint this information without request for compensation so long as the copy is not used for profit and so long as this paragraph is reprinted in its entirety with any copied portion

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#DolphinsLiveWell: Managing Loss During the Holidays