Saturday, December 6, 2008

Bereavement Support: Holiday Grief (Video Poem 4:00 mins.)

The holidays can be a troubling time for many who are grieving the loss of loved ones. Through the years, people associate holiday traditions with familiar people and places. My book Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes includes these suggestions for dealing with grief during the holidays:

“Mourners have to decide the best ways they can adjust to the holidays. One option is to create new holiday traditions. If holidays were celebrated as a family, new traditions can be planned as a family, so everyone can have input. This will give family members an opportunity to discuss their feelings about the deceased loved one and possibly include something in the new tradition that commemorates that person in an uplifting manner. This could be a type of memorial that adds pleasure to holidays in the future, something that would have pleased the deceased.

Whether celebrating the holidays alone, with others, or not at all, people should always follow their hearts and do what feels best for them. There is no one way for everyone. There are different ways that work well for different people. Some people who found the holidays stressful, phony, or too commercial before their loved one died may want to redirect their holiday focus. They might choose to participate in an activity that is calmer and more meaningful to them such as volunteering at places where they can help others or sharing with others in another capacity. Others may want to celebrate alone or with a few friends, take a trip to another state or country, or just be involved with something they enjoy doing that may or may not have anything to do with the holidays, but everything to do with their own quality of life."

© Frances Shani Parker

This video by offers bereavement support based on the sympathy poem “Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep.” The poem comforts with thoughts that the deceased loved one is reflected in nature.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes
Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog


  1. As I watched this stirring video I was reminded of a story on the website I moderate. It is the story of the simple way children consoled a grandmother who had lost her mother, and can be viewed at
    I'm scheduled to give my big "talk" to the caregivers' support group on Thursday. Wish me luck.

  2. You will do just fine. Good luck!

  3. Hello...I write to let you know I have been advised that one of our patients in a nursing home just lost his wife, his roomate at the nursing home. How timely it is then to read your latest entry about the holidays and how we miss our loved ones...or how the thought of leaving our loved ones behind is too painful to contemplate. I am grateful to your submissions and guess what? Your book arrived yesterday! Thank you again and may God bless and keep you well throughout the holidays! (I took your advice and changed my blog a bit as you will see.) Susan

  4. Thank you so much for sharing that information. Let me know what you think about the book. I like the new change at your blog. Happy holidays to you and your family!