Grief and the Holidays: Some Recommended Reading

By Natale Jensen, Supervisee in Social Work

Given this time of year, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the effect the holiday season can have on each of our experiences with grieving and mourning. There have been years in my own personal loss history where I have done nothing like “I always did.” Other times I have found that adjustments here and there have helped in the long run.

The months leading into the transition from 2021 to 2022 may include holiday gatherings, travel, deadlines, expectation, estrangement, and stress. This time can also bring celebration, “friendsgivings”, traditions, creativity, a sense of community, laughter, anticipation, and joy. When adding these on top of a loss, multiple losses, or cumulative losses, one could see how this season overloads our grief experience.  

I want to offer each of you the option to choose differently. You have the right to decide to do or not do. You have the right to balance your experience with saying “no” or “not this year”. Below are some reference materials you may find helpful amidst what can be an overwhelming season. Even in this instance, take what you want, and leave what doesn’t resonate.  

Here’s to the journey.

Resources and Recommended Reading:

Grief & the Holidays: Dealing with the Pain

Helping Yourself Heal During the Holiday Season

Grievers Holiday Bill of Rights

AfterTalk

What’s Your Grief – Holidays

A New Year’s Resolution for Grievers


Grief, Loss & Life: A Processing Group for Adults (Virtual)

Our human experience also includes the need to mourn (our outward expression of grief). No matter the loss type, the outward sharing of inward feeling is necessary. But, it does not mean we all activate it in the same way. In fact, part of the unique journey we undertake is finding with whom and how we share with others. It is, however, a part of processing that needs to be heard and witnessed.

For some experiencing long-term illness, the outward expression becomes anticipatory and happens in little and big ways each day. For others, outward expression begins around a funeral, memorial, or ceremony marking the death of a loved one. Many find that the sharing of stories, tales, and memories exist in daily interactions. Sometimes, triggering events will force a recounting of painful loss within a community. Still yet, there may be those of us who search and cannot find where it is safe to be our mourning selves. All these things (and more) are possibilities when it comes to mourning. 

In a safe and sacred space, there is freedom to be “you”, both grieving and mourning, without judgment. Our upcoming grief group cycle, which will run Jan-Feb 2022, will be just such a space.

You are invited to journey with others in a community of support and encouragement. The journey is yours to explore –and you do not have to take that step alone.

If you are interested in learning more about our upcoming group or have questions, you can contact me at natalie@sunstonecounselors.com.


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