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Hospice Helping with Holiday Grief

<span style="font-size: x-small; "> <p>It's the season of sharing, family and giving thanks but for some the holiday spirit is overshadowed by grief.</p> <p>But as Mechell Dixon found out, help is available to ease the sorrow of losing a loved one during the holidays.</p></span>

Since 1985, Hospice of Wichita Falls has helped patients and their families cope with loss.

Yesterday, the non-profit organization kicked off its annual tree lighting ceremony to honor and remember loved ones.

And Hospice also has programs to help people who suffer the added pain of a loss during the holidays.

The lights, the giving and families coming together help make the holiday season merry and bright, unless a loved one is missing from celebration this year.

In August of 2011, Barbara Galyean lost her 26 year old adopted special needs son, Jeremiah.

And during this time of year, the sense of grief can be magnified by the flood of memories of shared holidays from the past.

In September 2003, Reba Grantom's granddaughter was still born.

Hospice of Wichita Falls has helped both women deal with their grief through Wings of Hope support group for grieving parents and grandparents.

Granthom is the facilitator and says sharing is not a requirement.

"If they don't want to talk we just say.. you just say pass. You do not have to say anything. Sometimes it takes a while to be comfortable because the pain is so intense," Grantom says.

Courtney Galloway is a Hospice social worker.

She says bottling up and ignoring grief will only make it worse in the long run.

"Lots of things can happen that can lead definitely lead to some depression and isolation and those are things that can get out of hand really quickly," Galloway says.

She also says everyone grieves differently.

For Barbara Galyean this room, packed with pictures of Jeremiah, brings her comfort but his spirit also flows outside her home.

Galyean constructed this garden, complete with a fish pond and a guardian angel.

And without Hospice, she says dealing with her loss would be much harder, especially during the holidays.

"I don't think I would have healed as graciously and as fully as I have without Hospice's help and that's what's so meaningful to me and why this time of the year is so dear to me because I know where my journey has brought me," says Galyean.

In addition to support groups, Hospice of Wichita Falls also has some helpful advice on how to handle grief during the holidays.

You can check out that advice by clicking here.

You can also find out how to donate to the Hospice Tree of Lights Campaign by clicking here.

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