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Coping with grief during the holidays
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Grief is a healthy, human response to situations, such as the death of a loved one; separation or divorce; injury or disability; loss of job, property or pet and even children leaving home, especially for the first time.

Accepting your loss can help you live a happy, full life again.

During holiday time, many people are dealing with loss and are often caught in a dilemma between the need to grieve and the need pressure to get into the spirit of the season. Holidays or not, it is very important for the bereaved to find ways to take care of themselves.

Remember the reality that the anticipation of the holidays without your loved one is often harder than the actual holidays themselves.

Those we love are never really loss to us. We feel them in so many special ways, through friends they always cared about and the dreams they left behind, and in the beauty that they added to our days. We also feel them through the words of wisdom we still carry with us and memories that never will be gone. Those we love are never really lost to us, for everywhere their special love lives on.

Give yourself permission to express your feelings. If you feel an urge to cry, let the tears flow. Tears are healing. Scientists have found that certain chemicals in our tears are natural pain relievers.

When you are especially missing your loved one, call family members or dear friends and share your feelings. If they knew him or her, consider asking them to share some memories of times they shared with your love one.

Select a candle in your loved one’s favorite color and scent. Place it in a special area of your home and light of love that lives on in your heart. Even, decorate the memorial site at the cemetery with a holiday theme.

Consider the following offering one or both of the following Prayers of Memory.

"O Lord, we pray Thee, give us Thy strength, that we live more bravely and faithfully for the sake of those who are no longer with us, here upon earth; and grant us so to serve Thee day by day, that we may find eternal fellowship with them, through Him who died and rose again for us all, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen"

"A special one from us is gone; a voice we have heard is still; a place is vacant in our heart that can never be filled. Some may think you are forgotten; but in memory are with us; As you always were before. We love you dearly, God loved you best. Amen"

Clifton Harryton Anderson is a Mental Health American of Kershaw County Life Fellow