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Holiday season a hard time for people who have lost a loved one

December 15, 2010

There is help available when it comes to grieving for the loss of a loved one during the holidays.

You have lost a loved one. You grieve. The holidays approach. You don’t want them to come. You yearn for presence, not presents.
“ ‘I wish I could just go to sleep on the day before Thanksgiving and wake up on January 2nd!’ This is a sentiment that bereavement counselors all across the country hear a lot during the fall and early winter months,” said Morgan Ban-Draoi, grief counselor at Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island.

“One of the hardest things for most bereaved families and friends to face, especially during the first year following the loss, is deciding how to cope with the holidays,” she added. “Familiar rituals and traditions suddenly seem too hard to bear without their loved one’s presence, and yet, ignoring the holidays altogether usually doesn’t work either. They are deluged with invitations to join friends for celebrations and special events and often find it hard to say ‘no’ but also find it hard to be around the usual celebrations and festivities as well.”
In addition, added Ban-Draoi, everyone they know seems to be full of good advice for coping with this “most wonderful time of the year.” “Stay busy! Don’t stop and think too long. Why don’t you get away to the islands? Make sure you do things just the way you’ve always done them. Keep a stiff upper lip. Your loved one wouldn’t want you to cry.”
But there is help. Hope & Hospice Care of RI offers free Drop-in Grief Support to all state residents through December.
These professionally-led groups help those grieving the loss of a loved one to receive support from others dealing with similar experiences and to learn how grief is a
natural part of healing.
Ban-Draoi also shared that about 10 percent of the families of former Hospice patients under her group’s care participate in the grief support groups and their bereavement program. That brings the number to about 300 people each year.
Home & Hospice Care does not end if and when the patient succumbs. Providing grief support is an important part of the organizations’ mission. After the death of a loved one, HHCRI continues to keep in touch with family members for up to 14 months.
Registration is not necessary for drop-in support groups, which in
December include:
*In East Providence, General Drop-in Grief Support Group, Newman Congregational Church, 100 Newman Ave., Rumford (East Providence), second Monday monthly, 6-7:30 p.m.
*In Greenville, General Drop-In Grief Support Group, Greenville Public
Library, 573 Putnam Pike, Greenville, second Monday monthly, 6-7:30 p.m.
*In Providence, Caregiver Drop-in Support Group, which is for those whocare for people with life-threatening illnesses, Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island, 1085 North Main St., Providence, every Tuesday, 1-2 p.m
*In Providence, A Step Beyond Drop-in Grief Support Group, hich is for people who have lost a spouse or life partner and who are beyond the first stages of grief but would like to continue to receive the support of a group, Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island, second and fourth Wednesdays monthly, 6-7:30 p.m.
*In Providence, Children and Teens Brave Heart Drop-in Grief Support Group, just for children and teens grieving the loss of a loved one, Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island, second Thursday monthly, 4:30-5:30 p.m

More information is available by calling its Center for Grief & Healing at 401-415-4300 or go to www.hhcri.org.

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