The Grief Journey: Handling the Holidays

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Presented by Busch Funeral and Crematory Services….

Mark Busch, Busch Funeral and Crematory Services,  with Dr. William G. ‘Bill’ Hoy.

Mark Busch, Busch Funeral and Crematory Services, with Dr. William G. ‘Bill’ Hoy.

Busch Funeral and Crematory Services hosted a special event – The Grief Journey: Handling the Holidays – at its Avon Lake location, 163 Avon-Belden Road, Thursday, Nov. 6.

Nationally acclaimed bereavement and end-of-life education consultant Dr. William G. ‘Bill’ Hoy joined with Mark Busch in welcoming guests to this program designed for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one.

Hoy shared 7 Steps to help those experiencing grief though the holidays:

1 – Admit that the holidays are hard. When you are grieving, normal activities can become overwhelming. Acknowledge that you can’t do everything, or be everything that everybody expects. “Grief is not to be gotten over quickly. It took many years to build a relationship, it can take a long time to grieve,” advises Dr. Hoy.

2 – Make your plans: Check them twice. Get the right people involved. Realize that you can keep some things the same, but not everything. Determine where the most difficulties will be. “Maybe you will send 10 Christmas cards this year instead of 100. Maybe you will have a potluck dinner instead of making everything yourself,” said Dr. Hoy. “Take time to think about the things we’ve done together. Maybe we won’t do them all this year.”

3 – Consider the cost of withdrawal: You might want to avoid people, and limiting socializing can be a good idea. But be careful about avoiding others all together. The cost of withdrawal is high. “Withdrawal leads to more withdrawal,” advises Dr. Hoy. “Think about something new you can do.” Volunteer to help someone. Maybe go to an assisted living home and help someone write a few Christmas cards.

4 – Create something new: New rituals, ceremonies, observances or routines help mark this new chapter of life. “We have to leave the familiarity of where we are grieving,” advises Dr. Hoy.

5 – Contemplate spiritual roots: Holidays are spiritual in foundation. So worship, reading, prayer and meditation might help you restore balance during this season. “Is there a truth I can anchor myself to?” asks Dr. Hoy. “Try your faith community one more time.”

6 – Take good care of your physical well-being: Make nutrition high in healthy content, low in calories and avoid or limit caffeine, alcohol, processed sugar and animal fat. Exercise with mall walkers, activity leagues, sports and health clubs (but check with your health provider first). “Buy nutritional foods and keep them at the front of the fridge,” advises Dr. Hoy. “Do a little something more for exercise and it will help you sleep better. Write a letter to the person who died before you go to bed and let them know how much you miss them. Give yourself an opportunity to grieve right before bedtime. Start a journal.”

“By the end of the day our eyes pop wide open because we have kept our grief at arm’s length all day,” said Dr. Hoy. “So give yourself an opportunity to grieve right before bedtime.”

7 – Reach out for assistance: Support groups are here, there and everywhere. Great books are available (Dr. Hoy’s favorite is Grievers Ask: Answers to Your Questions about Grief by Harold Ivan Smith). “Grief will magnify whatever issues are underlying,” says Dr. Hoy. “A professional can assist and assess your grief, but the majority of grieving people don’t need it.”

“Grief is a long-term life process,” concluded Dr. Hoy. “It doesn’t work well when we try to do it ourselves. We are not made to grieve by ourselves. Even if it is a group of friends who will support us in the midst of loss and not try to change us. We are made for a life with others.”

“Losses at any time of the year are significant, and grief during the holidays can be overwhelming,” said Mark Busch.

Busch Funeral and Crematory Services offers a complete resource for living through the grief experience. Support groups, a downloadable grief library, and other important resources are readily available at The Avon Lake phone number is (440) 933-3202.



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