It’s possible to feel lonely, even in a crowded room.

 

Leila isn’t looking forward to her daughter’s birthday party. She knows she should be. She’s proud of the young woman her daughter has become into, but, since Leila’s husband died this summer, she’s been turning down invitations to all social occasions and celebrations. She just can’t deal with all those happy faces. She knows that going will make her miss her husband even more. This birthday, however, isn’t one she can avoid.

 

For those who have experienced the death of a loved one, holidays and family celebrations can be a time of stress and anxiety.  It can be disconcerting to feel sad when everyone around you is happy. To add to this, the person who died might have once been a part of such festivities in the past, and their absence may become a painful reminder, creating additional stress. For those who are in this situation, there is some help available.

 

On November 23, 2017, Evergreen Hospice will be holding its annual Coping with Holidays and Family Celebrations presentations. These events are for those who are grieving and might be anxious about participating in festivities.

 

“It can be hard on ordinary days for those who are grieving the death of a loved one, but the chance of having more difficulty increases when there are celebrations,” says Jan Pearce, Executive Director of Evergreen. “These are times that people spend with family and loved ones. When there is a person missing who was once a part of this, we notice it even more. At our presentations, we will be discussing some strategies to help people who are grieving get through this challenging period.”

 

The first session is being held at The Shops on Steeles and 404 (2900 Steeles Avenue East) in partnership with Mosaic Home Care Services & Community Resource Centres, located at the centre of the mall, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The second session will be held at Evergreen’s Markham location, 201-5762 Highway 7 East, Markham, ON L3P 1A8, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

 

These free events will begin with a talk, led by Evergreen’s counsellors, on strategies to prepare for such celebrations. Following this, participants will be able to honour their loved ones during a memorial activity. Refreshments will be provided. Evergreen is asking for people to call their office at 416-499-2185 to let them know how many people will be attending.

 

For people like Leila, and even for her daughter and other family members, these sessions will offer the tools and mindset that will help them manage the emotional minefield of these occasions.

Story by Rebecca Simkin