Grief and the Holidays

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:

It’s Time to Talk About Grief and Loss in Peterborough #GriefDayCA2017

“Fear costs more than grief.” – Brené Brown

November 21 marks the first annual Bereavement Day in Canada (#GriefDayCA2017). The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association invites all Canadians to reflect on the importance of relationships past and present, to think about those who have passed from our lives, and to advocate for supports at provincial and national levels for grieving Canadians.

To recognize #GriefDayCA2017, Hospice Peterborough has posted a number of grief-related resources on its website plus a book review of Megan Divine’s ‘It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand.’ For those who have experienced the death of someone they are connected to, Hospice also offers a progression of grief programs that encourage a process of accepting the loss and moving forward with new strategies to cope as the reality of life and death changes our lives.

During a typical week of grief programming at Hospice:

  • 30 people attend Lunch for the Recently Bereaved and Grief Chat for the Recently Bereaved
  • 51 people attend Adult Grief Recovery Groups
  • 10 children attend Children’s Grief Group
  • 8 children attend Children’s Monthly Grief Check-In
  • 2 teens receive one-on-one grief support
  • 12 people attend the Bereaved Parent Support Group
  • 10 individuals attend the Suicide Survivors Group

Hospice Peterborough programs and services are offered free of charge to residents of all ages living in the City and County of Peterborough.

Grief provides an opportunity to address the pain of loss. Although it can feel unbearable, engaging in grief support is worth the struggle as it helps release emotion that we unknowingly carry with us – emotion that impacts our health and quality of life.

Please contact Hospice to learn more, register or make a self-referral. If you or someone you know is grieving, Hospice staff are here to help connect you with the support you need. Remember, you are not alone.

Other Grief Resources Recommended by Hospice Peterborough:

Annual General Meeting