MAYWOOD, Ill. — Ornaments glistening on a pine tree, carols filling the air, shoppers scurrying through stores and the smell of goodies baking in the oven - it’s the holidays. For many this truly is the most wonderful time of the year. Still, for those who have lost a loved one, the empty chair at the table or one less present under the tree can be a painful reminder of the one who is missing.
“There are so many traditions associated with the holiday season that it can be an emotional roller coaster for someone who has recently lost a loved one,” said Nancy Kiel, bereavement coordinator for Loyola University Health System. “Many people wish they could just fast-forward through the holidays, but getting through the season is possible if you give yourself permission to be flexible."
Though there will be difficult moments, Kiel offers a few tips to help make the holidays a little brighter.
“Grief is hard work and it can be exhausting, but it is something we must do,” Kiel said. “If you put it on a back burner, you’ll never heal. You can’t go around, over or under grief – you have to go through it. So find someone who will listen unconditionally and tell your story."
Loyola University Health System is dedicated to walking alongside patients, their family and friends while dealing with the loss of a loved one. The Journey Toward Healing grief support groups offer a wide array of helpful small group sessions as well as workshops to address the needs of those who are grieving. For more information, visit www.loyolamedicine.org.