Grieve properly during the holiday season

Local organization Harbor Light Hospice does what it can to help people with holiday grief

For many, the holidays are a time of celebration. But for some -- like Dolores Cleaves -- it's a painful reminder of the loved ones they've lost.
Dolores Cleaves recently lost her sister Sue in November.


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – For many, the holidays are a time of celebration. But for some — like Dolores Cleaves — it’s a painful reminder of the loved ones they’ve lost.

That’s why local organizations are doing what they can to help people deal with holiday grief.

“Ever since I was little, we were so close together,” said Cleaves, whose sister Sue passed away in November. “We were only four years a part.”

This is Dolores’ first holiday season without Sue. She’s taking it one day at a time.

“I’m trying to do everything my sister would want me to do,” Dolores said. “And you know, I have to keep on living. I’ve got my children and grandchildren to be with.”

Chaplain Karl of Harbor Light Hospice said that grieving is important when losing a loved one.

His healthy ways of grieving include…

“Light a candle in memory of their honor. Put it next to a picture of them. Toast them on New Years Eve. Celebrate their birthday. Get a cake, even if it’s a cupcake with a small candle in it,” Karl said.

Karl added that when dealing with someone who has lost a loved one, it’s important to support them

Don’t give them advice. Instead…

“If they want to cry, let them cry,” he said. “If they want to laugh, let them laugh. If they want to share stories, let them share stories of their loved one. If they want to remain silent, just be there with them.”

Dolores and her family will spend Christmas together — and they’ll be sure to celebrate Sue’s life.

“Well even be thinking of Sue and mentioning her in our prayers,” Dolores said. “And it’ll probably be the biggest thing — we’ll keep remembering all the things that she’d done.”

Her advice to anyone else out there grieving this holiday season?

“Always keep all the good thoughts about them,” she said. “Never forget them.”

If you need help grieving this holiday season, contact Harbor Light Hospice at 330-367-5738.

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