Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted
Matthew 5:4

The holidays are a joyful time. Family and friends gathering for festive celebrations, music, food and fun. But for those who are grieving, the holidays can be dismal, dark and lonely. Losing a loved one is always painful and difficult. The holidays can magnify these feelings of despair and the emotional pain often brings the ones left behind to their knees.

Be patient with yourself and be honest, you have suffered a tragic loss, be mindful that you get enough rest, eat properly and do not over indulge. If you feel you need time to be alone, do not accept every invitation, but spend some quiet time in prayer and reflection.

A few thoughts to help you through the tough times in the days ahead. . .

Sometimes just talking about your feelings can be helpful. Share your thoughts with a trusted friend, someone that is willing to listen and understand your sorrow.

Volunteer your time and talents to offer assistance to others, this will help you to focus on something other than yourself and the satisfaction you receive will lighten your spirits.

Start a new tradition, however small, planning a new activity will brighten everyone’s mood and give them something to look forward to with joy.

Accept and understand, be gentle with yourself and know that you will heal.  Take one day at a time, enjoy the happy memories, and look to the future with hope.

Ask for help, holiday shopping, cooking and cleaning can be overwhelming; friends and family are often looking for ways to be supportive and helpful. Welcome their assistance.

Holy Family Hospice contributed to this article.