At this time of year, enjoying the holidays can feel difficult if you are grieving. You may even feel guilty for being joyful (even if it is fleeting) because joy and grief are often treated as opposite emotions that should not meet. After someone has died, it is important to be able to acknowledge pain and sadness during special occasions – to be able to integrate honouring the person into a time you may have typically enjoyed and looked forward to.
Each year Hospice supports clients and community members to honour the death of someone they are connected, to by lighting a tree and inviting people to remember by writing a message or the name of the person who died on a paper dove and attaching it to the tree. The template for the dove is available here and you are welcome to print a dove and drop it by Hospice or to print doves for use in your own home over the holidays.
Here are some resources recommended by Hospice staff that you may find helpful at this time:
- Hospice Peterborough’s informational booklet Getting Through the Holidays with Grief
- A story on how one person found new meaning in the holidays
- The Canadian resource mygrief.ca
- Coping with Holidays and Family Celebrations by Helen Fitzgerald
- Helping Yourself Heal During the Holiday Season by Alan D. Wolfelt