Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

Hope for the Thanksgiving Holiday

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Thank you to HelloGrief.org for sharing this article.

By Patti Cox

The holidays can be an especially difficult time of year for those who are grieving. When everyone around you seems happy and full of holiday cheer, you may want to just skip the holidays all together. The sights, sounds and smells of the holiday season can be overwhelming and the period of time leading up to the holidays can actually be worse than the day itself.

Before Thanksgiving Day, think about what might be tough and plan ahead, for example the “empty chair,” should you keep it in place or remove it from the table all together? Should the oldest child or another family member sit there now? Should you set a place in honor of your loved one? There’s no right or wrong answer, do what’s best for you and your family.

Be realistic… Don’t over schedule, you know yourself better than anyone. Set realistic goals and always have more than one plan. By having multiple plans – plan A, B and C – you can quickly move to the next plan if the previous one isn’t working or becomes too difficult.

It’s important to remember that you don’t have to do things the way you’ve always done them. It may be a good time to start some new traditions, this doesn’t mean you’re going to lose the old traditions; you can always go back to them or incorporate them again when you’re ready. Just because you’ve always put on a huge feast doesn’t mean you have to this year, have everyone bring a dish, have another family member host Thanksgiving dinner, or go out to a restaurant this year.

Address the “elephant in the room,” by acknowledging your loved one and including him or her in your gathering by lighting a candle, making a toast in his or her honor, or sharing favorite memories and funny stories about them. It may be difficult to start these conversations but it will benefit everyone around you and help each of you heal a little bit at a time.

A wonderful new tradition is to cover the table with a plain table cloth, provide permanent markers for family members and guests to write what they’re “thankful” for on the table cloth, a favorite memory or message to your loved one, and  children can have fun by drawing pictures. Bring the tablecloth out at each holiday until it’s full and then start a new one!

Remember to give “thanks” for what you had and what you still have… memories, love and feelings in our hearts can never be taken from us unless we let them. This year give thanks that the grief you feel is based on the enormous love you’ve shared!

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Holiday Candlelight Service, 2011

Thursday, January 12th, 2012
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Memorial Day

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Formerly known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day is a Federal holiday to commemorate U.S. soldiers who have died while in the military service.  The holiday was first enacted to honor Union and Confederate soldiers following the Civil War.  After World War I, it was extended to honor all American who have died in all wars.

General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, officially proclaimed Memorial Day on May 5, 1868.  It was first observed on May 30, 1868 when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.  May 30th was chosen as the official date because it was not the anniversary of a battle.

Memorial Day gained recognition across the nation.  There were events in 183 cemeteries in 27 states in 1868.  By 1890, all northern states recognized the holiday.  Memorial Day was officially declared by Federal law in 1967.  Under the Uniform Holidays Bill enacted in 1971, the date changed from May 30th to the last Monday in May to create a unified holiday weekend.

The original tradition of Memorial Day is still observed, although Americans have added traditions over the years.  Many visit cemeteries to attend memorial services and place flowers on graves.  American flags are flown at half-staff from dawn until noon local time.  Americans have adapted the observance of the long holiday weekend to have picnics, family gatherings, shopping, and barbeques.  The Indianapolis 500 has been held in conjunction with Memorial Day since 1911.  The legendary auto race runs on Sunday preceding Memorial Day.

To help remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the National Moment of Remembrance resolution was passed in December 2000.  A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3 pm local time.  The resolution asks that at 3 pm local time all Americans “voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps’.”

Information about Memorial Day: US Memorial Day, Wikipedia

Crown Hill 2011 Memorial Day Events: 143rd Memorial Day Ceremony

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Happy Holidays from Crown Hill

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

All of us at Crown Hill Funeral Home & Cemetery would like to wish happy holidays to the Indianapolis community.

Merry Christmas from the elves at Crown Hill

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Dealing With Loss During the Holidays

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

For many people who have lost a loved one, the mere thought of celebrating a holiday is overwhelmingly emotional.  Holidays and other distinctive days can be extremely difficult, especially during the first year after the death of a loved one.  It is important to understand that feeling this way is a natural part of the grieving process.  The following advice is respectfully offered as a way to help cope with grief during a trying time of the year. 

First and foremost, be sure to take care of yourself.  Exercise can help to reduce stress and to increase your sense of well-being.  Also, give your body the proper energy it needs by eating a healthy and balanced diet.  Be watchful of overdoing the intake of any medications prescribed by a physician.  Anti-anxiety medicines can sometimes be beneficial when dealing with a loss, but the excessive use of drugs or alcohol will only delay the sorrowful feelings, not eradicate them.  Additionally, allow yourself the chance for adequate sleep, as the mind and body require rest to deal with mental and physical stress. Finally, find someone to talk to, whether it is a friend, family member, or grief counselor.  Finding someone you can confide in and speak freely around will be extremely valuable during the healing process.

Every person deals with grief differently, but knowing some of the common physical and emotional responses experienced by grieving persons might aid in the ability to handle a loss. Some universal physical responses include difficulty breathing, muscle weakness, headaches, lack of energy, trouble sleeping, variation in eating habits, and hyperactivity.  The emotional aspect could manifest itself as shock, disbelief, sadness, loneliness, guilt, anger, anxiety, nightmares, crying, and lack of concentration.  No matter your own personal reactions to grief, know that it is okay to feel sadness, and conversely, it is okay to feel happiness.  Even without the loss of a loved one, the holidays can be an emotional roller coaster, filled with pressure and fatigue.  Allowing yourself to feel the way you do, whether that be crying at a poignant memory, or laughing at a fond one, is an integral part of grieving.  Another important facet of the grieving process is giving yourself permission to cry.  Don’t worry about having to “be strong” and not cry.  Crying is similar to exercising, because both can reduce stress and ameliorate physical and emotional anguish.   

Some of the usual activities participated in around the holidays may seem necessary, yet challenging to undertake.  Shopping, sending letters, accepting invitations, and dealing with traditions each have their own unique worries, but can be handled one step at a time.  Shopping can be done online or through catalogs, or by enlisting the help of a friend or confidant to assist with the task.  It is not the end of the world if holiday greeting cards are not mailed, so evaluate your level of energy and omit the cards this year if you do not feel up to it.  Also, accepting every invitation received, even if you feel an obligation to attend, may cause undue stress.  By accepting just a select few, you may find enjoyment and even comfort in the company of others without feeling overtaxed.  Perhaps the largest hurdle to overcome is the holiday tradition.  A death in the family could mean not knowing whether to proceed with a much loved tradition.  Remember that new traditions can always be started, and then stopped, if they are not working out.  Perhaps a twist on an old tradition, such as changing the menu on a dinner normally served, or opening gifts at a different time, could ease the pain associated with that particular holiday staple.  Communicating with other grieving family members to determine everyone’s needs and wishes is helpful, and reaching a compromise on how to deal with a sorrowful tradition is healthy for all involved. 

Choosing a special and personal way to memorialize your loved one during the holidays could prove to be therapeutic as well.  Some suggestions include planting a tree, lighting candles, sharing memories with family members, offering a dinner prayer or toast, and purchasing a gift or putting the money towards a charitable donation in the name of your loved one.  Although special tributes like these can be intensely emotional, they are usually helpful in dealing with grief during the holidays.  Grieving children may also find participating in activities like these particularly meaningful, and letting them choose what kind of memorial can be especially comforting to them.  Remember that the death of a loved one is very difficult for a child or adolescent, and patience is crucial to their recovery.  Whatever is decided upon, the deeply personal choice of how to memorialize a loved one is an endeavor the whole family can participate in. 

Holidays are, without a doubt, an extremely difficult time when dealing with the loss of a loved one.  Please remember that you are not alone, and that there are many people able and willing to help.  Turning to a pastor, counselor, friend or relative can be encouraging and therapeutic.  The guidance provided and support given will be helpful when feelings of discouragement and sorrow seem overwhelming. Allowing yourself to grieve in your own way will help ease the pain of holidays without a loved one.

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