POTSDAM — Hospice of St. Lawrence Valley will be holding holiday grief support workshops beginning at the end of October for those in St. Lawrence County who have recently lost loved ones.
The three-part virtual series will provide support and education for those coping with grief during the holiday season.
“Hospice recognizes that grief is something most community members don’t talk about or are not familiar with,” said Hospice’s Bereavement Coordinator Kate Favaro. “Grief kind of comes up as an acute issue around the holidays because it’s such a joyous time and it’s hard to miss someone while having to still be happy and engage in family traditions.”
Hospice of St. Lawrence Valley will be providing the workshops free of charge. They are open to all adults at least 18 years old in the County who have experienced the death of a loved one between six and 12 months ago.
The first session will begin from 2 to 3 p.m. Oct. 28, and will continue at the same time on Nov. 11 and 18.
“There are three meetings within each group of sessions,” Ms. Favaro said. “The first meeting is going to be called Deck the Halls. The goal of the meeting is for the attendees to recognize that their pain around the holidays is normal, and they’re going to feel a lot of different things all of the time.”
The second series will take place from 2 to 3 p.m. Dec. 2, 9 and 16.
“Week two is the Partridge in the Pear Tree,” Ms. Favaro said. “We’re going to focus on how to talk to your family and friends about how to honor the person who has died and keep them present in the holidays. We’re also going to focus on if you want your family and friends to talk about the person or if that’s too hard for you right now. We’ll also be focusing on some new traditions for including the person even after they’re gone.”
The last session of workshops will take place from 2 to 3 p.m. on Jan. 13, 20 and 27.
“Week three is Auld Lang Syne,” Ms. Favaro said. “The goal of this is going to be thinking about rituals you can do on a weekly, monthly, whatever basis to help keep your loved one near. We will explore different rituals like scrapbooks, memory books, writing a letter to them or story. Just little things to keep that person part of your daily life to keep them near.”
Favaro noted that since the workshops will be held on Zoom, participants must have a valid email address and access to a computer with a webcam, a smartphone or tablet to participate.
“This really aims to empower grieving people,” Ms. Favaro said. “It also aims to help people be more comfortable in expressing their grief and recognize it’s okay to be sad during the holidays and it’s okay to tell people I need a break right now and it’s okay to ask people to remember their loved ones.”