Baptist Hosts Annual Tree Lighting and Memorial Ceremony in December
If you’re mourning the loss of someone special this holiday season, know that you’re not alone. About two and a half million Americans pass away annually, leaving – on average – five grieving people behind. While the holidays often represent a season of joy and include spending time with your family and close friends, this time can also be a tough reminder for those grieving.
Whether it’s the loss of a parent, spouse or child, grief can override any desire to celebrate the holidays as you had in the past. You may feel wonder if you should keep your old traditions or start fresh and make new holiday traditions for the future.
“The holidays may be especially hard for those grieving, because they’re not sure what’s considered ‘OK’,” said Angela Hamblen Kelly, executive director of the Baptist Centers for Good Grief. “We want you to know that whatever you’re feeling is OK. You only have to decide about this year and what feels right to you now.”
Since 2011, Baptist Reynolds Hospice House and Baptist Centers for Good Grief in Collierville, Tennessee, have hosted an annual tree lighting ceremony for families to honor and remember their deceased loved ones during the holiday season.
“The lights on our tree represent the life of a loved one, and we hope that our ceremony will be extra special for those who are grieving during the holiday season,” said Hamblen Kelly. “Each person receives an ornament, which serves as another symbol for those loved ones lost.”
It’s important for grieving family members and friends to remember, there’s no right way to grieve. Though time tends to lessen the pain you may feel, it’s normal to “re-grieve” the loss of a loved one throughout your life. Often times, the holidays can trigger certain emotions — such as anger, sadness or frustration — that can drown out any other feelings that you may have normally experienced during this time of year. Taking time to remember and mourn can help you balance these emotions during the holiday season.
“Grief requires us to be patient with ourselves,” said Hamblen Kelly. “It’s important to remember that you are not alone and resources are available to support you.”