Coping with Grief During the Holidays

By: Lindsey Yates Email
By: Lindsey Yates Email

While the holidays are supposed to be a time filled with joy for those who have lost loved ones coping with grief can be even more challenging during the holiday season.

One woman struggles to make Christmas a happy time, despite losing her 15-year-old son to Leukemia.

Kim Cunningham still fights back tears when she talks about Christmas without her son Robert.

"It's a very rocky road the first year. you're just kind of numb to the situation, you're just kind of still in denial. Christmas was difficult,"says Cunningham.

To deal with grief Kim holds onto their last Christmas together.

"He opened up the guitar hero boxes and he knew immediately he had a new Xbox,"says Cunningham.

"Holiday season can be especially difficult especially the first year because of that empty chair,"says Michelle Harrell, Social Worker at Hospice of Southern Kentucky.

"One family member's not there it kind of breaks up the happy .It destroys your world for awhile,"says Cunningham.

Harrell with the says there are some tips that may make the holidays a little easier.

"Take care of yourself physically, mentally, and surround yourself with those who love you and support you and not overextending yourself."

Kim was able to find comfort in the support of others.

"That physical part of being with other St. Jude's patients' families being with anyone who has lost a family member seems to help because you have that commonality,"says Cunningham.

She says she will always remember Robert's jolly personality.

"I have to go on and be there for Emily and my husband and my family,"says Cunningham.

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