Not everyone greets the holiday season with open arms. Particularly those who are grieving over lost loved ones.
Eunice Galloway, a native of Argo who attends Christ Community Church in Springville, understands this full well.
“Our daughter died when she was 18,” Galloway said. “There are lots of people who have suffered severe losses. We want them to know that they are not alone.”
Eunice and her husband Bob are teaming with Frank and Carol Parker — who also lost a daughter to cancer — to facilitate “Surviving the Holidays,” a single event seminar in which participants and professional counselors discuss ways to help through one of life’s most difficult experiences. Christ Community and First Baptist Springville will join together to offer the seminar this Sunday, from 4-5:30 p.m.
“As a culture, we don’t really like to talk about death, even though it’s something we’ll all experience at some point,” Galloway said. “There’s that empty chair at a holiday meal. It can be overwhelming.
“It’s the elephant in the room, and everybody is thinking or feeling, but nobody wants to acknowledge it.”
Among the “practical tips” shared on the church’s website:
• Prepare beforehand a holiday planning checklist of the activities you want to continue, simplify or drop.
• Don’t anesthetize the pain with drugs or alcohol. Numbing emotional distress with chemicals creates more depression.
• Reach out to others by discovering people who might be alone during the holidays.
“The length of time being in a festive mood from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day can be draining even without a loss, but can become a dreaded and sometimes unbearable time for those in grief,” Galloway said. “But, there are ways to find strength to respect and take care of our emotions without letting them flood or paralyze us. We can even find healing and renewed hope in the midst of the pain.”
“Surviving the Holidays” groups meet throughout the U.S. To register, or find more information, call 205-542-0070 or click on the GriefShare link at www.christcommunityspringville.com.