Setting boundaries with family and friends and understanding how to cope with grief during annual holidays and special occasions are important when dealing with the loss of a loved one. Knowing that these types of events can be a difficult time for those who are grieving, Faith Presbyterian Hospice offers a variety of programs, speaker series and support groups as resources for those in the Dallas community and surrounding areas. From grief camps for children, to support groups for adults, to candle light services to grief seminars dedicated to addressing anticipatory grief, there is something for everyone. These events are free and open to the public. Though special occasions can be incredibly painful, Faith Presbyterian Hospice has tips and advice for navigating them and making them special and meaningful again.
“Everyone’s perspective is unique, and their emotional pain depends on the sense of depth of loss,” said Melanie Hoffman, social worker for Faith Presbyterian Hospice. “For some, it is too painful carrying on past traditions because they do not feel the same. In this case, I recommend looking to those around you for inspiration on new traditions. Think of the loved one who made each holiday or special event extraordinary for you, and then give back to someone else in your life by beginning a tradition that makes both of you feel happy. We can reduce personal grief by remembering we have something new to give. However, sometimes people are hurting too much to celebrate at all. The best solution in this case may be to avoid large celebrations and focus on small, casual gatherings with those who are closest to you.”
The degree of pain felt varies from person to person, and everyone needs to establish healthy boundaries for their own protection. Most people still want to do certain things but lack the emotional energy they had in years past. It is imperative that those who are grieving put their emotional needs first and not feel guilty about forgoing certain traditions or activities.
“Do not let people push you outside of your comfort zone. You should never feel forced into something that can intensify feelings of loss,” said Hoffman. “Give yourself permission to politely tell people, ‘I appreciate your idea, but I’m just not ready and I am grateful that you understand that I am not ready.’ It helps if you surround yourself with people who understand your boundaries and support your wishes. Staying cheerful and participating in celebratory events is especially difficult when people don’t share those celebratory feelings. It is also hard being around people who are constantly working to cheer you up. Always remember to be kind to yourself and do things for yourself instead of pleasing others. Everyone carries an innate capacity for healing and recovery. Do not feel the need to apologize to others. The more we heal, the more we can start enjoying life again. We hope that the various programs we offer this time of year will help families feel supported and give them the tools they need to deal with grief.”
Faith Presbyterian Hospice offers many free events and programming. To learn more, please visit https://www.faithpreshospice.org/events/