Dealing with grief over the holidays

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The holidays are a joyous and festive time of year, but for some, they can also be trying and emotional.

Grieving a lost loved can be especially painful as people celebrate Christmas and other holiday traditions.

“It might be challenging this time of year with the lights and all the festivities and the sights and the sounds,” Director of Program Operations at Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids Lindsay Jousma told News 8. “It is a special time of year and it can be a lot of reminders for people who are grieving.”

Gilda’s Club offers a wide variety of resources to help people navigate grief. Jousma said it’s important to give those who are grieving extra grace this time of year.

“We really work to empower our members to know you have a choice of what you’d like to participate in this year and what you’d like to bless and release this year, depending on what feels right to you after the death of someone in their life,” Jousma explained. 

Amy Quist and her two daughters attend a support group weekly. Her husband, Bryan, died suddenly in 2015. She told News 8 she misses looking across the room at him on Christmas morning as the girls open gifts.

“For me it’s very lonely without my husband, but you need to talk about him still,” Quist explained. “A lot of people don’t like to say their names, don’t really like to act like they’re there anymore and they are. That is a huge thing.”

She added it’s comforting when others talk about her husband and share memories this time of year.

“Just don’t ignore it because that helps so much, just knowing that he’s still loved or they’re still loved,” she said.

More information about Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids can be found on the group’s website.