The Holidays are Coming, Ready or Not
By Sue Loudon
People who have lost a family member to Covid-19 or another illness or accident this year should know there is help for them and their families as they face the holidays without a loved one.
Solace House provides grief support for those aged 3 years old to adult. They provide group support for children, teenagers and adults to help each group know they are not alone. Couples, families or individuals may get counseling if they prefer.
Solace House counselors believe everyone has the capacity to heal. They know strong reactions of grief and anger are normal even if the death was anticipated. Being in a group of people that has had a similar experience lets people know they are not alone. The intensity and duration of each individual’s grief is unique. They may expect good days and bad days. People need help understanding their own behavior and spiritual response to the loss.
Because of Covid-19, twice as many people are seeking help from Solace House, the Center for Grief and Healing which is another service of Hospice House, located at 12000 Wornall Rd., the place for end of life care. Solice House is located at 8012 State Line Road on the second floor.
The Counselors at Solice House share Nine Guidelines for those who grieve, especially during the holidays.
- Plan ahead. Know that this will be a painful time. Let your family know how they can help you and how you can help them. What most concerns you? Remember you do have choices. What do you consider a “must do” and what can wait until next year.
- Express yourself. Tears may be very near the surface. Feel free to cry. Know that your emotions may fluctuate unpredictably.
- Take charge. You can avoid more feelings of helplessness and lack of control. Maintain your routine of eating, sleeping and exercise as much as possible. Don’t try to do everything the way “we’ve always done it,” if it doesn’t feel right. However, don’t make major, life changing decisions at this time.
- Take help from others. Talk to your priest, minister or rabbi. Professional counselors can also be helpful at this time. Remember grief takes energy, so get more rest. Accept help from friends and family. Bereavement support groups may be helpful.
- Be gentle with yourself. Treat yourself as you would a good friend who was grieving .
- Remember to Remember. Sometimes people find comfort in using or wearing something that belonged to the loved one who has died. Especially, remembering him or her in prayer.
- Search out and count your Blessings. Enjoy the joy children bring to the holidays. Stay in the present as much as possible. This is the secret to getting through the holidays! Enjoy today!
- Do something for Others. Grieving people become centered on themselves, which is normal , but the more you can focus on the needs of others the better you will feel.
- Encounter Your Faith. Some people become angry toward God. Instead use this as a time to grow in your spiritual journey.
To reach out to Solace House, call 913-341-0318 or email shmail@KCHospice.org. The services are free but donations are accepted.