Dealing with grief over the holidays

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The holiday season is the hardest time of the year for many who are grieving.

So what can we do to make it easier on those who are suffering?

Doyle Patterson, Senior Chaplain of Palliative Medicine at Covenant Medical Center, says don't assume they want to be alone.

"For the person who's grieving, I would want them to remember to be patient with themselves. For others, one of the things you don't want to do is for them to feel isolated. Find creative ways to get them involved."

Patterson says grief includes much more than losing someone you love. He defines grief as an expression of emotions when you suffer almost any kind of a loss. It can be the loss of a marriage, loss of a job, or loss of your health and mobility as you have known it.

It might be tempting to step back and let the person who is grieving have more space and time alone.

But, Patterson says if you feel comfortable, you can approach someone who appears to be grieving and say, "Do you want to talk about those tears?" He says if you give them an opportunity to share, they may want to do that.

Patterson says it's true that the holidays will not be the same after the death of a person or a major change in life, but in time, laughter and joy will return.

He says family gatherings are about celebrating the people in that family, and remembering them.

But, he adds, we all need to remember that the person who is grieving is going through something they have never experienced before, and they will move on from this on their own timetable.

In the meantime, he says don't exclude them: "Include them. Don't let them be isolated."

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