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  • Writer's pictureColleen M. Doumeng

Managing Grief During the Holidays ~

For many of us the holidays are some of the toughest halls we find ourselves in after a loss. The way we handle our loss is as individual as our fingerprint – meaning we handle loss in our own “unique” way. There are moments during the holidays where we hear a song, smell something in the air, eat something, see something and suddenly we find ourselves sad and missing a loved one. There are also moments where we catch ourselves doing “ok”. We notice that we are experiencing moments of deep connection, love, a sense of peace and sometimes laughter. What I have learned is that there is no right or wrong way to grieve, AND, as we move through the holidays, it is very important to be gentle, kind, patient and compassionate towards ourselves. I also believe that we have the opportunity to experience the holidays in a new way – and we get to choose how. Having said that I also believe that we have the right to change our minds as many times as we need to at any time during the process. It is important to me that I am honest with my loved ones and honor my truth and simply say - “I’m just not up to this right now.”

I received an email this week on this subject from a teacher I have been studying with for many years - David Kessler. David Kessler put together a list of ways “to externalize the loss and give it a time and place.” I was moved by these suggestions and thought I would pass them on (see below). For those of you unfamiliar with David Kessler, he is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on healing and loss. He is the author of many books, including a book he co-authored with my beloved teacher,

Louise Hay – You Can Heal Your Heart: Find Peace After Breakup, Divorce or Death. He has also co-authored best sellers with Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and wrote a best-selling hospice book – The Needs of the Dying, that received praise by Saint Mother Teresa.

If you are interested in learning more about his work here is his website:

Suggested Ways to Externalize a Loss During the Holidays ~

● Say a prayer about your loved one before a holiday dinner.

● Light a candle for your loved one.

● Create an online tribute for them.

● Share a favorite story about your loved one.

● Have everyone tell a funny story about your loved one.

● At your place of worship remember them in prayer.

● Chat online about them.

In closing, I offer to you my prayer this holiday season and every day ~ May you be safe. May you have peace in your mind, may you have peace in your body, may you have peace in your heart. May you be an instrument of peace. And so it is. May God bless you always and in all ways. Sending you peace from the north fork of Long Island ~ Colleen

(This is a picture of the Sea of Galilee- the largest freshwater lake in Israel - it was taken by one of our fellow pilgrims of peace during our tour through the Holy Land in April 2019, hosted by

davidji and the mindful skater girl, Shelly Tygielski)

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