Caring Connections: Grief & the Holidays
Nov 13, 2013 1:00 PM
Award-winning journalist Peggy Fletcher Stack offered grievers tips for the holiday season at Caring Connections: Grief and the Holidays event.
Like many others individuals that are navigating the grief process after the death of a loved one, Sally White felt adrift and without a road map following the death of her husband, Jim.
And then one evening last year, Sally, along with her friend Lois, decided to seek help. Together the two friends, who had lost their partners just months apart, decided to attend Grief and the Holidays, an annual event hosted by Caring Connections: A Hope and Comfort in Grief Program of the University of Utah College of Nursing. “When I walked into the room that evening, my lost feeling turned into one of being found by a group of people who completely empathized with my sadness and understood what I was experiencing and feeling,” Sally says.
Often billed as ‘the most wonderful time of the year,‘ the holiday season can be anything but for individuals that are grieving the death of a close family member or friend. For some, the holiday season is a time filled with sadness and pain. For others, moments of happiness during the holidays may bring feelings of guilt. Still others may find themselves vacillating between feelings of joy and sadness.
But as Sally learned through her own experience with Caring Connections, much like a winter snowflake, each grief journey is unique. Caring Connections is built on this theme with its Grief and the Holidays event, which took place Monday, November 18 at the College of Nursing’s Annette Poulson Cumming Building. The event featured award-winning journalist Peggy Fletcher Stack, who offered insights from her own journey navigating the holidays after suffering the death of her daughter.
"Winter holidays are intended to be full of joy, but for those who have experienced the death of a close friend or family member, the season may be empty," says Kathie Supiano, PhD, LCSW, director of Caring Connections. She points out that just as families develop holiday customs or traditions that are uniquely theirs, every griever must determine—and honor—their path to what feels right during the holidays. "For some individuals, observing a particular family tradition may bring solace. For others, it may bring more sorrow," Supiano says. "Attendees of Just Like a Snowflake, each Grief Journey is Unique learned how to give themselves permission to determine what holiday traditions do or do not make sense this year. They also gathered ideas from grief and bereavement professionals for how to honor the memory of their deceased loved one."
Grief and the Holidays is provided thanks to the generous support of Larkin Mortuary.
To learn more contact Caring Connections or call (801) 585-9522.
Katie SchrierKatie Schrier is the Communications Manager for the College of Nursing