Dealing with Holidays After Loss: Grief, Remembrance and Gratitude

For many, the holidays find us gathered around the dinner table with relatives and friends, enjoying favorite family recipes and sharing stories – sometimes ones heard time and time again. But when you lose a loved one – no matter the time of year – the holidays feel different, especially the first one you spend without your spouse, parent or child.

Feelings of grief and sadness during a time usually associated with joy and laughter can also make you feel more alone than ever. While Capital Caring Health can’t erase your feelings, we can help ease their intensity and duration. In the more than 40 years we’ve cared for seriously ill and hospice patients and families, we’ve learned that everyone experiences grief in his or her own way. As a result, we’ve developed a wide range of support options for patients and families—including children—during the stressful holiday period.

Capital Caring Health’s expert, compassionate staff provides emotional and pastoral support through individual or family counseling as well as offering support groups and workshops consisting of others who are also grieving. We also feature seasonal group programs and activities designed specifically to help you cope with grief and loss during the holidays and into the New Year.

Help during the Holidays

As the holidays near, the December and January offerings from our Point of Hope Center can help those facing the declining health or loss of a loved one through such special support programs and events as:

  • Self-Care Through the Holidays
  • Coping with Grief Through the Holidays

The period immediately after the holidays can be just as difficult. With all the anticipation and busyness of the holiday season behind us, even people who are not suffering often feel a sense of let-down during January. Our special programming helps the bereaved and others cope through workshops and special activities including:

  • Surviving the Post-Holiday Blues
  • Ceremony of Remembrance
  • New Year, Changed Self: Vision Board for 2020

Support group and workshop schedules vary by neighborhood. To see the calendar for December and January and find a nearby meeting that may work for you, please click here. All holiday groups are free but do require registration. You may also call 800-856-1348 to schedule an appointment with one of our grief counselors. Someone is available to talk to you, 24/7.

Honoring the Memory of a Loved One

When we lose someone we love, each of us finds a way to preserve and honor his or her memory. It may be something as simple as framing a cherished photo, participating in an activity or cause that you used to enjoy together, or making a donation in his or her name. Such rituals may be especially important at this time of year as we think about the spirit of giving, and the legacy of the person we’ve lost.

If you would like to honor a family member, Capital Caring Health offers several meaningful ways to do so. You can create a scrapbook of memories at one of our workshops, for example, or participate in events such as our Ceremony of Remembrance, held at local churches throughout our service area. You can post a photo and tell a story about your loved one on Capital Caring’s Tribute Lights page hyperlink:

And at Capital Caring’s Adler Center, which provides patient-focused services in a home-like setting, we offer numerous tribute or naming opportunities to recognize a loved one by naming a bench, sponsoring the purchase of art and more.

Lastly, as a community-based nonprofit provider of hospice, palliative and now home-based elder health care, Capital Caring Health depends upon the generosity of others to help us meet numerous needs, particularly charity care. We never turn anyone away for lack of coverage or financial means. In fact, we provided more than $3.2 million in care last year alone to patients and families who could not afford to pay. Your contribution can help assure this level of support continues in the years ahead. (add hyperlink to main donation form).


As we near the end of another year, Capital Caring Health is grateful for the many families who entrust us with the most precious of all responsibilities—to care for a loved one, often during the last phase of life. That can be a time of great challenge for patients and family caregivers alike. Our support can let them focus on the quality of their remaining time together, including being home for the holidays.

We’re also grateful for the patients and families who tell us our staff, volunteers and comprehensive care have made a difference in their lives. Their comments and appreciation help keep us focused on our mission and inspire us to always do the right thing for those in our care.

And for you, our greatest wish is that you find comfort, peace of mind and joy in your memories…over the holidays and throughout the New Year.