The Grace Brethren Church of Columbus (Polaris) Ohio is featured in a current article on helping people deal with grief and loss over the holidays. Here is an excerpt–to read the entire article, click here.
GriefShare is a national program with a chapter at Grace Brethen Church of Columbus in Westerville. Its leader there, Joe Messana, said the program encourages people to accept that holidays are never going to be the same as they were.
It recommends that grieving people set boundaries, such as telling someone they accept an invitation to a gathering but might have to cancel at the last minute if they don’t feel up to attending. Shorter visits are often easier to face than long ones.
People suffering a recent loss might benefit from celebrating the holiday in a totally different way than previously, such as going out of town or eating at a different location, Messana said.
Tishler, the psychologist, recommends exercise and talking about whatever is making you sad, especially if it is someone’s absence.
Pointing out the loss might stir up difficult feelings, but trying to ignore it can be even more painful, he said.
The Rev. Tim Waggoner, a pastor at Grace Brethren, said he and his six siblings lost their mom and their dad within three years. At the holidays, they’ve gathered to tell funny stories about their parents.
Waggoner pointed out that religion can help in a time of sorrow.
“I find that folks that have a deep faith in the Lord are able to traverse (grief) much better than those who have no faith at all,” he said.