First Things First

Grief and the Holidays

In June of 2010, Cathy Brown unexpectedly lost her mother. While she was in the midst of grieving and anticipating the holidays without her mom, Brown’s son passed away.

“Up to this point in my life, I had never lost anybody close to me,” says Brown. “When I lost my mom and son within six months of each other, it ramped things up to a whole different experience.”

As a result, Brown has a real heart for people who are grieving, especially during the holidays.

“Unless you have really experienced grief, you don’t realize how much it physically drains you,” Brown says. “I encourage people to be patient with themselves and to be very intentional about exercising and getting enough rest. People are better able to handle the emotional roller coaster of grief when making healthy choices.”

In navigating her own journey through the grieving process, Brown has led a Griefshare group at Signal Mountain Presbyterian. “People are often surprised at how long the grieving process takes,” she says. “Even if this isn’t the first Christmas without their loved one, people often describe the grief as being more intense than they anticipated.”

If you’re preparing for the holidays after losing a loved one, Brown shares her own words of wisdom and experience to help you in the process:

“My hope is that those who are grieving will take these suggestions to heart,” Brown said. “I also would encourage people to go to griefshare.org and sign up for 365 days of inspirational emails. In addition to trying to do all of the things listed above, the daily emails were uplifting and encouraging, especially on the toughest days.”

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