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“I miss my mom soooo much. When will it ever get easier? I know I’m married with children but I really miss talking to her 15 times a day. I wish she could see how Wonderful Gavin is doing in PreK and how he started reading sentences this week. I wish she could see how our little Preemie is doing and at 2 years old is running around saying the sweetest and funniest things. And I wish she could see how grown up and smart Garrett is becoming. Every time I watch them there is a little hurt that I can’t call her and send one of them over there to show or tell her something. This time of year is really hard. OK, I’m done with my pity party for the day. :)”

This post was recently written by one of my Facebook friends. This will be her second Christmas without her mother and best friend. Her mother, after a battle that lasted more than two years, died from cancer. She was on hospice for the last few months of her life, and was also faithfully attended to by her sister-in-law, a retired Army nurse.

Besides the outpouring of her grieving heart expressed in my friend’s post — grief especially at “this time of year,” as she said — what I noticed was how many replies she got and how many similar stories were being shared. So many are experiencing loss and grief, but something about the holidays renews the sting and re-opens the wound, sometimes when we least expect it. I think my friend has the right idea to allow herself “her pity party” for the day. She doesn’t deny her feelings but she doesn’t wallow into a dark place of no return, either.

Just as the losses of our loved ones — especially those who were hospice patients — was a process, our grief is a process, too. The stages of grief are recognizable for all of us, but the nuances of grief are so very inexplicably complex and personal.

Peace Hospice & Palliative Care provides bereavement care for at least 13 months following the passing of your loved one. Peace also encourages you to become active in and provides you with information about local bereavement support groups. You are also encouraged to contact Peace Hospice spiritual support staff with prayer requests or if you just need someone to talk to, or even just to listen.

Annually, during November, which is National Hospice & Palliative Care Month, Peace Hospice holds a memorial service to honor the memories of the patients we were blessed to serve in the past year. We invite their family and caregivers to join us. What a blessing it is to be a part of this special day where your loved one’s name is read aloud. A flower is offered in their memory. Sacred readings are shared, and our abundantly talented music therapists celebrate your loved one’s life with the gift of music.

For the colleagues Peace Hospice works alongside in skilled nursing facilities, Peace also offers a presentation on grieving through the holidays and is there to support the nurses, aides and support staff where some of our patients had lived long term.

As winter comes on and we quickly approach the holidays, Peace Hospice truly does WISH YOU PEACE.

Here is a link to a seminar on holiday grief that was sponsored by a hospice in Tennessee. The tips apply to all of us, no matter if we live on the South Side of Chicago, the suburbs of Northwest Indiana or the mountaintop ridges of Tennessee.

http://alivehospice.org/blog/live-tweet-transcript-alive-hospices-grief-during-the-holidays-seminar-nov-15-2012/

Also, please check out all of Bereavement support information found on our website:

http://www.peacehospice.net/grief_support.php

A plethora of information on hospice and palliative care is posted regularly on:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Peace-Hospice-and-Palliative-Care/333771836640618

and Twitter: @PeaceHospiceChi