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COLUMN: Advice on supporting the grieving and dealing with grief during the holidays

A message from Castlegar Hospice director Suzanne Lehbauer
Christmas tree. (unsplash)

Another holiday season is upon us and there seems to be more hope in the air as we have a bit more normality this year. Being able to gather together in person brings such joy!

This year allows us time to pause, reflect and seize the opportunity to treasure all of our blessings, grieve our losses and truly reconnect with others. Please remember that not everyone will be celebrating this year. It might be the first year that someone is missing or it might be the tenth and the hurt is still there. We are dealing with COVID grief and those that are suffering and struggling cover themselves with their emotional armor. Please make some time to help a family member, friend or colleague who needs some support.

Not everyone feels the need to share every single detail of their life on social media so you’re going to have to look up – look up from your phone or tablet or laptop and make that face-to-face in-person connection. That may sound scary for some of you but believe me, it’s the best way to communicate! Give the most precious gift of all – your time. Let them cry and remember or reminisce about the past or vent or be whatever they want to be. Just be present.

Celebrate the relationships in your life and become mindful of the precious gift of life. Look into your heart for ways to demonstrate compassion and caring, not just at this time of year, but all year round.

If you see someone who works in hospice, thank them, for the time and compassion and strength that they give to those at end of life and those who are grieving. These are the people that make your community strong and they work and conduct themselves with a quiet dignity. It is my absolute honor to work with them and they make me a better person.

My wish for you is that you start each day with a grateful heart and live each day to the fullest. From my heart to yours, Merry Christmas, happy holidays and all the very best for a safe, joyous and happy New Year.

Suzanne Lehbauer, Executive Director Castlegar Hospice

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