Social Services - A Message from our Social Worker Melanie Amin

Coping with Grief During the Holidays

While the holidays are a time of celebration for many, they can also be a challenging time for people grieving the loss of loved ones. Surrounded by images of happy faces and besieged by family gatherings, they may face unattainably high expectations to “feel good.” And holiday festivities can send difficult, mixed messages as grieving adults struggle with the sadness, fear and guilt that accompany the loss of a cherished person.

For example, a woman who recently lost her partner may dread the holidays, because they remind her of the memories and traditions she can no longer share with the person. Yet, rather than feeling that it is OK to take a step back from the celebrations this year, she may feel even more pressure to participate. In an effort to “protect” their mom from feeling sad, angry or lonely, well-intentioned children might “insist” that mom attend a family party. Kids may say, “Come with us, you’ll feel better,” but their mom may feel, “If I don’t go with you I’m letting you down.”

Offering grieving adults the support to express their grief is not something we, as a society, do easily. Loving children might genuinely want their parents to “feel better” and “move on,” yet they may inadvertently disregard their parent's true feelings. Thus, providing those with significant losses the time and freedom to share their feelings is very important. Even if they express emotions troubling for listeners to take in, offering nonjudgmental support can profoundly help them. 

Grieving people need to be able to trust that it’s acceptable for them to cry, be irritable or even feel angry during the holidays -- a time when people are “supposed to be happy.” Sometimes it can also help grieving adults to sit down 
one-on-one with a professional social worker to discuss their feelings and questions about the grief process.

If you’re concerned about yourself or a friend in the community who is coping with grief, please call (847) 588-8460.

Join Us for the Discussion Group: Grief, Loss and Change

While this group will support people coping with grief and bereavement, we welcome participants managing other types of loss. 

This program is open to Niles residents only and meets the third Wednesday of each month from 3:00 to 4:30pm. 
Upcoming meeting dates are November 14 and December 19, 2018.

There is no cost to attend the program, but registration is required. Please contact Barbara Duran at (847) 588-8460 for more information.