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Learning to deal with grief and loss over the holiday season

For those who recently lost a family member or a cherished friend, Dec. 25 and the whole holiday season can be tough to handle

With less than a month to go before Christmas day, many of us are anxiously counting down the days until Dec. 25 and the chance to not only open that special present, but for most, it is a chance to share memories, and make new memories with loved ones, if just for one day.

But for those who recently lost a family member or a cherished friend, Dec. 25 and the whole holiday season can be tough to handle. Sometimes, the grief is so overwhelming they can't wait for the holiday season to end.

Surrounded by messages of love, memories and spending time with loved ones, those dealing with a sudden loss may be looking for somewhere to turn for help in dealing with that empty feeling of loss and despair.

'GriefShare Surviving the Holidays' is a helpful, encouraging seminar for people facing the holidays after a loved one’s death. The event is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. in Calvary Baptist Church at 567 Melton Street in Pembroke. 

The seminar features video interviews with counsellors, grief experts, and other people who have experienced the holidays after their loved one’s death and who offer practical suggestions and reassurance.

These people share honestly about: being prepared for surprising emotions that may hit over the holidays; what to do about traditions and other coming changes; how to handle holiday parties and invitations; how to survive potentially awkward moments with other people; where to find comfort,
strength, and hope in a seemingly hopeless time.

The techniques are presented in a caring way as one of the underlying themes is taking that sense of hopelessness and instead, using the occasion to honour the memory and legacy of that person you lost.

Various methods of honouring someone may include going forward with Christmas traditions and that way a sense of continuity is maintained. Another is sharing cherished memories with family and friends and encouraging all to take part. With a group all taking part, the time together can be rewarding and help fill that void.

Those who attend will receive a survival guide filled with practical tips, encouraging words, journaling ideas, and exercises for daily help through the holiday season. For more information, call the church office at 613-735-5293 or email

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