From “Springs of Living Water,” the grief support e-newsletter of Optage Hospice.
November is a threshold month, kind of an in-between time. We have left the brightness of fall but (usually) don’t yet have the covering of snow or the cheering holiday lights. Shorter days and longer nights can make us sleepy and reflective. At the same time, there is the expectation that we will gather with others to feast and give thanks, even if we are just barely holding it together while grieving the death of a loved one.
Here are some suggestions for navigating November — just as you are:
Modify as needed. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the idea of hosting or attending a gathering, think about ways to simplify. You might order your meal from a local restaurant, or you could choose to be with just a few select people rather than joining a large group.
Be gentle with yourself and others. Grief is unpredictable. Give yourself (and those around you) plenty of grace as you navigate the strangeness of this time. Don’t be surprised if emotions come out in surprising ways or if there are some awkward moments.
Find quietness. You may need extra space this year to absorb the changes. In advance of your gathering, you might designate a “quiet zone” where you can retreat from the festivities.
Know that you can carry both grief and gratitude. The idea of expressing gratitude when you feel deeply sad can feel perplexing. But even a few grateful thoughts can help decrease stress and buoy you. Remembering what you are grateful for can help you pull back and see your current struggles against the larger horizon of your life. This helps you to see more clearly, not just what has been taken, but also what yet remains and what is still possible.
Upcoming Grief Groups (Zoom)
Caregiver Connections: Second Wednesday, 7 – 8 p.m., monthly
Navigating the Holidays with Your Loved One: November 9
Holidays can be stressful, especially when you are a caregiver. We’ll explore strategies for simplifying or modifying based on your loved ones’ health and your own circumstances.
Grief Support: Third Wednesday, 7 – 8 p.m., monthly
Grief & Gratitude: November 16
As Thanksgiving approaches, we’ll explore the relationship between grief and gratitude and how we can carry both, even as we head into the complexities of the holiday season.
Grief Explorations (six weeks) Thursdays, 1 – 2 p.m., January 19 – February 23
We’ll explore the impact of grief on the mind, body and spirit and what you can do to help ease the process.
If you are interested in joining a group, contact Chaplain Jenny Schroedel by email at [email protected] or by phone at 651-341-7105.
Optage is the home and community services division of Presbyterian Homes & Services.
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