DARKE COUNTY — How is a person who has lost a loved one supposed to get through the holidays?
It appears to be a problem for many people and there is help to overcome that grief.
Cami Snyder, who assists those dealing with grief, responded, “I would say the best thing someone who is experiencing grief this holiday season can do is to be gentle with yourself.
It might feel like you should do everything like you have in the past, but this may actually be a time to take a break. You can always pick traditions back up another year or even begin new traditions.
Snyder said a few different things that may help one survive through the holiday season is to do something in memory of the loved one, find ways to remember, change some traditions, smile a smile for the loved one and reach out to others.
“Be sure to make time for yourself; politely say ‘no’ to invitations,” she said. “Express your feelings, say a prayer and allow grief and gratitude to co-exist.”
“On Sept. 23, 2010, we welcomed our fifth baby, Lulu Grace, to our family,” Snyder said. “She was born with an extra chromosome, #18…one minuscule extra chromosome that would change her life and ours forever. We were so blessed to have her here with us for 62 days. Holding her, kissing her, loving her. We are still learning about our grief. Lulu’s death is not something to get over, but instead a new part of our lives to embrace and walk out. From our deep loss a special vision was born.”
“The House that Lulu Built” is a local non-profit grief care home started by the Snyders.
“We will invite community to share stories of the loved ones they lost too early,” she said. “We will celebrate those lives and our ongoing love for them. ‘The House that Lulu Built’ will provide a home where families who come into town for funeral services may stay together. We also just held our third Annual ‘Grief and Gratitude Through the Holidays’ on Nov. 15. It is an evening where we have community members share their personal journeys through grief, while providing practical tips and bereavement support in hopes of a healing holiday. The event is open to both adults and children.”
She also shared a few other local places that offer grief support through the holidays.
“State of the Heart Care offers a holiday grief series at the Darke County office to discuss some of the topics that arise before, during and after the holidays,” Snyder said. “Zechar Bailey Funeral Home has a Remembrance Celebration in November with video pictures of everyone they served that year. They have multiple ministers speak on the different stages of the grieving process and how it affects people. They offer a light meal for those in attendance.
Tribute Funeral Home has an open house Dec 19 from 5-7 p.m. with a room of remembrance to light a candle and have a prayer. They also can take the candle home with them as a remembrance of their loved one.”
She concluded, “There really are a lot of great resources and help as you maneuver through grief. But remember there is nothing to rush…time doesn’t always heal everything. It’s going to be very different on this side of grief, but you are not alone. You are definitely not alone.”
Roxie Thornhill of Lightsville had her own way of dealing with grief this year:
“If you have a loved one that has passed you know how hard holidays are. No matter how long they have been gone, there is always a hole in that day. So I don’t look forward to holidays very much since my husband Greg has passed away. But yesterday was different. I took my grandkids — one at a time — to Grandpa’s tractor room. It was always his wish that they all got a tractor. So they each made three trips each to that special room to get anything they wanted. Even though Greg wasn’t here, I could feel his spirit in everybody’s laugh and heart. So with the help of my girls — Becky, Julie, and Emma — it turned out to be a great day. I want to thank God for putting the love and laughter in our family again. With His help I know our family will be okay and that we can face anything. I also want to thank a friend that made me realize I wasn’t doing as well as I thought I was. According to the stages of grieving, anger is a big stage. With God’s help, I realizes why I was so angry. But not for the reason I thought before. I am mad at myself and unfortunately at God a little. With His help it is getting better. Thanks to everyone for kindness over the past 18 months. God bless all of you.”