The holidays and end of the year can be difficult. Surrounded by messages of being together and expectations of joy and celebration, those grieving can feel more isolated and alone as they navigate the holidays without loved ones. It’s important we give ourselves permission to do things differently and recognize that there is no right way to grieve.

Everyone grieves differently. If you notice tension between you and those around you, it is important to reflect and communicate. Ask for what you need and it is okay to say no. For some people, quiet and solitude cushions their heart. Others may want to talk about their person or have an empty seat or other indicator of the person’s absence. Still others they may not want to acknowledge the loss in the company of others and seem to be unaffected. Talking about and negotiating how to adapt this holiday season is important to address the range of needs people may have.

Take time to intentionally honor the people you are missing in a way that feels right for you. Write a letter, tell stories about the person, give gifts in their honor, light a candle, listen to a favorite song- whatever holds meaning and helps you feel connected is perfect.

Mt. Hood Hospice has ongoing social hour groups that meet weekly for grief and caregiver support. Groups are free, online, and available to any adult. Visit our website or call 503-668-5545 to find out about the next cycle of education groups.