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Dealing with Grief During the Holidays

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The holidays can be a difficult time for those experiencing grief. Here, Jennifer Graziano, licensed funeral director at Coxe & Graziano Funeral Home in Greenwich, CT, and Mamaroneck, NY, offers her advice.

Why can grief and loss be more pronounced during the holidays?

There’s realization and sadness in knowing there is one less person at the table; there is a tendency to reminisce of happier times when everyone was together.

What is the impact of that this year in particular, when many families are not able to see each other due to Covid-19 precautions and restrictions?

I think there is a basic human need to gather and be in the company of those we love, particularly around the holidays. Among the greatest of “Covid causalities” has been the inability of people, especially families, to gather together. Those who might opt out of joining or hosting large family celebrations this year will likely experience feelings of loss during the holidays. Something will not feel right without spending holidays with the ones you love.

What advice or tips do you have for people dealing with these types of feelings?

My best advice is to acknowledge the feelings you have and give yourself time and space to work through them. If you’re not feeling happy or overjoyed this holiday season, it’s ok. Your feelings are always permissible and no one can or should expect you to conform to the holiday spirit. Allow your feelings to be felt. Do your best to find some elements of hope throughout the season. If you’ve lost someone this year, allow yourself to be sad. If your table is less filled this year, allow yourself to mourn those who are absent. Equally important, is to accept help and support if you are in need. It’s OK to lean on others sometimes.

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