Munson Health
Monday, December 05, 2011 - Coping with Grief During Holiday Season
Coping with Grief During the Holiday Season
Munson Hospice offers help for those grieving loss of a loved one
The sound of a bell ringing at the department store, laughter on a city sidewalk, and colored lights reflecting off falling snow bring vivid thoughts of family times and stir holiday cheer.
Heart-warming memories revisited during holiday festivities also can stir up feelings of loss, absence, and even grief after someone has experience the loss of a loved one.
“We can mentally conjure up the aromas, sounds, and flavors of the holiday,” said Lisa Ashley, president and CEO of the Michigan Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. “The best single principle for coping with this time of year after a loss is to think carefully and consider what practices will be maintained and kept and which will be changed or eliminated.”
Munson Hospice grief coordinator Patti Amalfitano suggests it is possible to experience the holiday season with new meaning and with a renewed sense of hope for a time when the pain of grief will be muted and when the possibility of a full life is reopened.
“There is no timetable for grieving. Grief typically becomes less painful over time. It can resurface from time-to-time, especially around holidays or anniversaries,” she said. “It also can sneak up on you when you’re not expecting it.”
Munson Hospice is experienced in assisting people with their feelings and grief, and offers adult grief services to anyone in the community provided by licensed therapists. It provides grief support activities throughout the year. Facilitated book study groups meet throughout northern Michigan in assisted living and retirement communities.
The following support groups, staffed by professionals, are available:
Adult Grief
• Mondays, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Munson Hospice House
 • Tuesdays, 10 - 11:30 a.m. Traverse City Senior Center
 • Tuesdays, 1 - 3 p.m. Congregational Church in Benzonia
 • Thursdays, 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Traverse City Friends Church

Loss of a Child
The group Compassionate Friends, meets the second and fourth Mondays, 7 - 8:30 p.m. in Munson Community Health Center, Room E. Individual and family counseling also is available. For more information on Munson Hospice, call 1-800-252-2065.