When The Holidays Are Hard

It’s hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is next week. For some, it’s the start of the holiday season — the most wonderful time of the year. Unfortunately for many others, it can be a very difficult time. If you’ve lost a loved one and are experiencing deep grief, getting through the holidays can be a challenge, especially because how holiday, ritual and family are so intrinsically linked. Feeling isolated, or feeling pressure from others to “move on” from grief can make this season even harder.

A bereavement group can offer relief from living and experiencing life through the gray lens of deep grief. Vincent Dopulos, a licensed professional counselor in Montclair specializing in loss and bereavement, began running bereavement groups at Overlook Homecare and Hospice in 1996 and later at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, where he started a group specifically geared to “Getting Through the Holidays,” offering people a way to navigate this difficult time.

Creating a space where people struggling with grief can safely expose their feelings and receive support can make all the difference. Being in this structured environment brings relief from a painful way of living and “makes change possible for people who have no hope and a great deal of pain,” says Dopulos, who adds that participants emerge with hope and the tools they need to get their life back. One former group member writes

In the first meeting, I learned that I was not alone with my grief and all the emotions and pain surrounding it. We had similar circumstances and feelings and some different ones but we all had PAIN. We shared…. we learned from each other… and we reached out to each other.

The group meets Thursdays in Montclair through January 3. For more information, or to register, call 973-509-8373.

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